Tau fly

MPI has not detected any more Tau flies since a single adult male was caught in a routine surveillance trap in January. However, it's important that we all keep watch for this and other pest fruit fly species.


Tau fly with 2mm rule for scale
No more Tau flies have been found.

Tau fly is most commonly found in tropical Asian climates. A single adult male fly was collected from a trap in the Auckland suburb of Manurewa in January. It was the first time a fly of this species had been found in New Zealand.

MPI responded immediately by searching and trapping for more flies, to see if there was a local population. Restrictions were placed on the movement of fruits and vegetables through and out of Manurewa during the investigation.

No more flies have been found. The response is now closed. Restrictions have been lifted.

Revocation of Controlled Area notice [PDF, 713 KB]

The horticulture industry and MPI thank local residents and businesses for their cooperation. We know it has been inconvenient and your efforts are appreciated.

Risk to New Zealand

In areas where it lives, the Tau fly can be a pest of some horticultural crops, such as pumpkins, melons, cucumbers, capsicum, zucchini, eggplant, beans, papaya, mangoes and passionfruit.

It is extremely unlikely that the fly would have been able to establish in New Zealand, due to our climate.

Where in New Zealand?

An adult Tau fly was found in a trap in the Auckland suburb of Manurewa. It has proved to be an isolated case. MPI set a large number of traps in the area and no other flies were found.

What's being done?

We've closed our response to the Manurewa find but our routine fruit fly surveillance traps remain in place.

Manurewa response (closed)

During the response, MPI set more traps in the area, using the same pheromone baits that caught the Tau fly in January. Field staff also searched the area.

A Controlled Area was established, extending 1.5km around the trap where the fly was caught. The movement of certain fruits and vegetables was restricted out of the Controlled Area. If there had been more flies, this would have helped to stop them from spreading.

Now that the response is closed, the Controlled Area restrictions have been lifted.


You may be eligible for compensation if our use of legal powers in our response to this fly detection caused you loss by:

  • damaging or destroying your property
  • restricting the movement or disposal of your goods.

Fruit fly surveillance

MPI is constantly keeping watch for many species of fruit fly, including Tau fly.

  • 7,600 traps are set around the country.
  • Pheromones are used to lure male flies into the traps.
  • Most traps are placed near airports, seaports, and densely populated areas – where flies would most likely enter the country.

Trapping runs from September till June, when fruit flies are active. Any catches trigger a response similar to the one in Manurewa. If a breeding population is found, insecticide treatments are used to get rid of it.

Border control

MPI has strict requirements on the importation of fruit and vegetables to minimise the risk of pests coming into the country. Air and sea passengers are prohibited from bringing fresh fruit and vegetables into the country.

What you can do

Keep watch for fruit flies. All New Zealanders have an important role to play in keeping them out of the country. If you think you’ve found one, call us immediately on 0800 80 99 66.



Tau fly with 2mm rule for scale
If you see a fly like this - call us on 0800 80 99 66.



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