Important biosecurity information about fruit fly
Fruit Fly Biosecurity Information - Northern Tasmania (5Mb)
Fruit Fly Biosecurity Information - Furneaux Group of Islands (6Mb)
A detailed map of the Control Areas is available through The List
Imported fruit fly host produce being removed from sale in Tasmania
Fruit Fly Detection - Update 22 February 2018
A suspension on produce imported from a Melbourne-based fruit and
vegetable treatment facility will remain in place until Biosecurity Tasmania is
satisfied that any identified concerns are addressed.
Biosecurity Tasmania staff are working with their Victorian
counterparts to investigate the process undertaken at the treatment facility.
The facility is one of three major Melbourne-based facilities accredited
for fruit fly treatment prior to export to Tasmanian markets.
No concerns have been identified for produce coming through the
other two facilities and this will continue to be available in supermarkets.
Inspection is a routine part of Biosecurity Tasmania measures and surveillance
of all fruit fly host produce has been increased during the current
Imports from the supplier of the identified produce also have been
suspended until fruit fly freedom can again be demonstrated or that produce has
been appropriately treated for fruit fly.
The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
is continuing discussions with its Federal counterparts as well as other States
to identify any further actions that may be required.
The Tasmanian community, including retailers, has been praised for
its quick response to the suspension and recall of host produce.
Reports of fruit fly can be made by contacting Biosecurity Tasmania on 6165 3774.
Latest information for the public:
Fruit Fly Community Update (3Mb)
Report any suspected signs of fruit fly by calling (03) 6165 3774
About fruit flies
Fruit flies cause enormous damage to fruit and some vegetable crops around the world. They are unlikely to cause the same damage in Tasmania, but their presence at low levels may impede export trade. It is important for our horticultural industries that we keep fruit fly out of the state.
There are around 14 species of fruit fly of potential economic concern on the Australian mainland. The two that pose the most risk to Tasmania are:
- the Queensland fruit fly along the eastern seaboard and in the Northern Territory
- the Mediterranean fruit fly in Western Australia.
Queensland fruit fly - Click for a larger image
A mature fruit fly is around 7 mm long and is reddish brown with some yellow markings (see image above).
You are more likely to see fruit fly maggots (larvae) than actual flies. Fruit fly larvae look like blowfly maggots.
Fruit fly larva - Click for a larger image
Mature fruit fly larvae are 8-11 mm in length and 1.2-1.5 mm in width. They are usually easy to see in the flesh of the fruit.
A key sign of fruit fly is a series of "stings" visible on the outside of the fruit. A "sting" is a puncture mark caused when a female adult lays eggs into the fruit.
Fruit fly larva in fruit flesh - Click for a larger image
If you open up the "sting" carefully with a sharp knife, you should see a cavity containing eggs or the debris of hatched eggs - you would probably need a magnifying glass to see it.
The number of maggots (larvae) in a single piece of fruit varies from as little as 1 to more than 60, however typically we would expect to find 4-20 maggots in each piece of infected fruit.
Sting marks and larvae of Queensland fruit fly
copyright: Used by kind permission of Agriculture Victoria
Female fruit flies lay eggs in maturing and ripe fruit on the tree. The skin of the fruit needs to be soft enough for the fly to pierce the skin with her ovipositor. Lesions in damaged fruit can also facilitate egg-laying.
The larvae (maggots) tunnel into the fruit causing rotting, and so infected fruit often falls to the ground prematurely.
Maggots continue to develop in fallen fruit, so infected fruit must not be disposed of in compost heaps.
Susceptible fruit and vegetables
Stone fruit such as apricots, peaches and cherries, and pome fruits including apples and pears, are especially susceptible.
Citrus, fig, and many tropical fruits are also susceptible as are fruiting vegetables such as tomato, eggplant and capsicum. Some native and ornamental fruits are susceptible as well. See below on this page for a more comprehensive list of host plants.
The value of keeping Tasmania fruit fly free
Tasmania has a reputation, both nationally and internationally, as a reliable producer of the best fruit and vegetable products. Our freedom from a wide range of serious pests and diseases gives our producers a significant competitive advantage in the key markets. Indeed our access to the premium markets in Japan, Korea, USA, Taiwan and China is dependent on our fruit fly free status.
For many years, the belief has been that fruit fly would not survive a Tasmanian winter. However, even a temporary summer population of the pest could disrupt fruit exports. Any degree of trade disruption is undesirable for our growers.
The cost of fruit fly to producers where it exists on the mainland is substantial. That cost includes:
- loss of product due to infestation
- restricted market access for any "clean" product from within a biosecurity area (typically 15 km radius of an infested property)
- costs of an eradication program (typically baiting)
- costs of ongoing insecticide use
loss of any market premium that goes with not having to fumigate export fruit.
It is estimated our fruit fly free status adds tens of millions of dollars a year to the export income earned by Tasmania's horticultural industries.
Ways fruit fly could enter Tasmania
By far the most likely way is as maggots or eggs in fruit and susceptible vegetables. That is why Biosecurity Tasmania is so rigorous in policing the ban on tourists, interstate home gardeners and returning Tasmanians from bringing fruit and vegetables into the state.
It is possible, but unlikely, that mature fruit flies could be brought across Bass Strait on the ferry or by plane.
The distance across Bass Strait is such that mature fruit flies being blown over from the mainland is considered highly unlikely.
Biosecurity Tasmania's fruit fly surveillance program comprises a network of around 900 fruit fly traps at various risk points, from Dover in the State’s south to Smithton in the north. These pest surveys are ongoing to prove that Tasmania is fruit fly free, and give Biosecurity Tasmania an early warning of a fruit fly incursion.
There are also legal
restrictions on people bringing fruit and vegetables into Tasmania. In short, people are not allowed to bring fruit or vegetables with them when they come to, or return to, Tasmania. Biosecurity Tasmania ensures everyone coming into Tasmania is fully aware that they may not bring fruit or vegetables with them - and prosecutes those who fail to comply.
Commercial shipments of some types of fruit and vegetables are allowed only if they comply with Biosecurity Tasmania's strict biosecurity requirements (see Plant Biosecurity Manual
for import requirements). All fruit and vegetables require special certification from the State of Origin. Most imported fruit is certified by fumigation.
The law applies not only to orchardists but also to anyone with a home garden, crops that are hosts to fruit fly such as tomatoes etc, or a small acreage that is not farmed commercially.
Where there are fruit fly affected areas on the mainland, fruit fly populations are generally a lot higher in urban home gardens and small blocks than in outlying orchards. In a fruit fly outbreak, lone fruit trees or vines in an urban backyard and neglected fruit trees or vines on non-commercial smallholdings are a major biosecurity risk. This is especially so if the owner fails to collect and destroy fallen fruit.
The fruits grown commonly in Tasmania that could be attacked by fruit fly include:
However, a wide range of other fruits, not commonly grown here or that are only imported from warmer climates are also capable of harbouring fruit fly. For a complete list of host plants, see below.
Anacardium occidentale (cashew nut), Annona glabra (pond apple), Annona muricata (soursop), Annona reticulata (bullock's heart), Averrhoa carambola (carambola), Capsicum annuum (bell pepper), Carica papaya (papaw), Casimiroa edulis (white sapote), Chrysophyllum cainito (caimito), Coffea arabica (arabica coffee), Eriobotrya japonica (loquat), Eugenia uniflora (surinam cherry), Fortunella japonica (round kumquat), Lycopersicon esculentum (tomato), Malus sylvestris (crab-apple tree), Mangifera indica (mango), Manilkara zapota (sapodilla), Morus nigra (black mulberry), Musa spp. (banana), Passiflora edulis (passionfruit), Passiflora suberosa (Corky passionflower), Prunus persica (peach), Psidium cattleianum (strawberry guava), Psidium guajava (guava), Syzygium aqueum (watery rose-apple), Syzygium jambos (rose apple), Syzygium malaccense (malay-apple), Terminalia catappa (Singapore almond)
Aegle marmelos (golden apple), Annona squamosa (sugarapple), Averrhoa bilimbi (blimbe), Blighia sapida (Akee apple), Calophyllum inophyllum (Alexandrian laurel), Cananga odorata (perfume tree), Citrus aurantiifolia (lime), Citrus aurantium (sour orange), Citrus jambhiri (rough lemon), Citrus limetta (sweet lemon tree), Citrus limon (lemon), Citrus maxima (pummelo), Citrus medica (citron), Citrus reticulata (mandarin), Citrus sinensis (navel orange), Citrus x paradisi (grapefruit), Clausena lansium (wampi), Cucurbita moschata (pumpkin), Cydonia oblonga (quince), Cyphomandra betacea (tree tomato), Dimocarpus longan (longan tree), Diospyros blancoi (mabolo), Diospyros kaki (persimmon), Dovyalis caffra (kei apple), Eremocitrus glauca (Australian desert lime), Eugenia dombeyi (brazil cherry), Feijoa sellowiana (Horn of plenty), Ficus racemosa (cluster tree), Flacourtia jangomas (Indian plum), Flacourtia rukam (rukam), Fortunella x crassifolia (meiwa kumquat), Grewia asiatica (phalsa), Juglans regia (walnut), Litchi chinensis (lichi), Malpighia emarginata, Mimusops elengi (spanish cherry), Momordica charantia (bitter gourd), Morus alba (mora), Musa x paradisiaca (plantain), Myrciaria cauliflora (jaboticaba), Nephelium lappaceum (rambutan), Nerium oleander (oleander), Olea europaea subsp. europaea (olive), Opuntia ficus-indica (prickly pear), Passiflora foetida (red fruit passion flower), Passiflora quadrangularis (giant granadilla), Persea americana (avocado), Phoenix dactylifera (date-palm), Phyllanthus acidus (star gooseberry), Physalis peruviana (cape gooseberry), Pometia pinnata (fijian longan), Pouteria caimito, Pouteria campechiana (canistel), Pouteria sapota (mammey sapote), Prunus armeniaca (apricot), Prunus avium (sweet cherry), Prunus cerasifera (myrobalan plum), Prunus domestica (plum), Prunus salicina (Japanese plum), Psidium guineense (Guinea guava), Punica granatum (pomegranate), Pyrus communis (European pear), Rollinia mucosa, Rollinia pulchrinervis, Rubus fruticosus (blackberry), Rubus ursinus (boysenberry),
Solanum laciniatum (kangaroo apple), Solanum melongena (aubergine), Solanum seaforthianum (star potato-vine), Solanum torvum (turkey berry), Spondias mombin (hog plum), Spondias purpurea (red mombin), Synsepalum dulcificum, Syzygium cumini (black plum), Syzygium paniculatum (Australian brush-cherry), Syzygium samarangense (water apple), Thevetia peruviana (exile tree), Trichosanthes cucumerina var. anguinea (snakegourd), Vitis labrusca (fox grape), Vitis vinifera (grapevine), Ziziphus mauritiana (jujube).
Reporting suspected fruit flies
Public assistance is a vital part of our ongoing surveillance for any signs of fruit fly. You are most likely to see larvae in a piece of fruit, either fruit you have bought or fruit in your backyard. They look similar to blowfly maggots.
If you do see what you think may be signs of fruit fly, contact Biosecurity Tasmania on 6165 3774.
If you are not sure, please report anyway. There are no costs involved in reporting and you would be performing an important public duty in alerting us to anything that might be fruit fly.
Whatever you do, do NOT dispose of any fruit that has a maggot you think might be fruit fly. In most cases, you would be asked to place it in a plastic bag or plastic container and put it in your fridge until a Biosecurity Tasmania officer collects it.
Fruit fly is declared as a List A pest under the
Plant Quarantine Act 1997. People are required by law to report promptly any signs of fruit fly on their property.