Mediterranean fruit fly

Adult fruit fly

Fruit fly is one of the most feared insect pests, and takes its place alongside foot and mouth disease as one of the greatest threats to New Zealand’s biosecurity. They lay their eggs just under the skin of fruit, and the maggots feed on their host, pupate and emerge as live flies after a few weeks. A single female can lay up to 1200 eggs over a lifetime. 

A fruit fly outbreak has serious implications for our country’s export trade. International protocols require that trading partners be informed, and they may impose a trade embargo until long after the last fly is detected. One study from the 1990s estimated that a fruit fly outbreak in Hawkes Bay could lead to the loss of 3200 jobs and $230 million in sales.

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