Hi-tech traps on trial in fruit fly surveillance programme

24 November 2022

Image: The RapidAIM high-tech fruit fly trap

New Zealand’s National Fruit Fly Surveillance programme is trialling 60 state-of-the-art traps, with the aim to bolster the detection of exotic fruit fly.

Although we have a world-class biosecurity system, the growth in global trade and travel increases the opportunity for fruit flies to enter the country and exotic fruit fly incursions could significantly impact New Zealand’s kiwifruit and wider horticulture industry, so early detection is critical.

This season, 60 additional traps have been deployed across 11 Auckland suburbs to target the Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF). The hi-tech traps are on trial from the Australian company RapidAIM. Sensors in the traps evaluate the behaviour of insects entering the unit. An algorithm then predicts whether it is a QFF. If detected, an alert identifies the trap location, enabling a field officer to collect the sample within 48 hours.

The chief benefit of the RapidAIM system is the possibility of an immediate notification of a suspect QFF.

Wider introduction of the traps will be dependent on the success of trials like this one. Meanwhile, work is ongoing to develop sensors that could detect all economically important exotic fruit flies.

Each month during the high-risk season for fruit flies KVH produced an update on detections and activities underway to manage risk nationally as well as specifically for the kiwifruit industry. Read the latest update here.