South American fruit fly in the news
We have had growers get in touch about a media story last weekend on the possible importation of a South American fruit fly as a parasitoid, for control of the invasive moth plant.
KVH became aware of the development of this application in 2021 and provided some initial feedback to the Waikato Regional Council. While the kiwifruit industry is supportive of managing impactful weeds such as moth plant, we highlighted the need to ensure no unintended biosecurity impacts, as well as the need to ensure no potential for loss of New Zealand’s status as free of economically significant fruit flies.
This small, seed-feeding fruit fly is found in its native range (Argentina, Southern Brazil, and Uruguay) only on weedy plants, such as moth plant.
Research and review of literature has confirmed that there is no evidence of it being a fruit fly species that would affect our freedom status, and there is also no evidence that kiwifruit (or any other horticultural crop) is a host.
While this is reassuring, KVH will be making a formal submission during the EPA’s process, reiterating the need to prioritise management of biosecurity risk and the importance of ensuring all science behind the application is robust.
We will also continue to collate and share our knowledge on this with other interested parties and the Fruit Fly Council, a governance group of impacted industry sector representatives and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).