Mowbray fruit fly discovery went almost undetected

NEWEST DETECTION: The adult male fruit fly discovered at Mowbray. Picture: Supplied

NEWEST DETECTION: The adult male fruit fly discovered at Mowbray. Picture: Supplied

The Mowbray woman who discovered a fruit fly in her home was initially unsure she should report it – and when she called Biosecurity Tasmania’s hotline she felt she was not taken seriously.

Thinking an “unusual fly” had come into her kitchen, the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, took a photo and captured it when it landed.

“I almost threw it out, not knowing what I had,” she said.

“When it landed on my Galaxy Note cover I could see the distinct yellow. That gold stands out so brilliantly; it’s striking. I just thought, ‘this is a fly I’ve never seen in this area before’.

“I rang [the hotline] to find out what to do with it. The operator was trying to talk me out of it.”

Once she sent the photo of the fly through to Biosecurity Tasmania, the woman was contacted quickly and officers were at her door the following morning to collect the specimen.

“By the photo they were pretty sure. They confirmed it was an adult male Queensland fruit fly the next day,” the woman said.

The woman praised Biosecurity Tasmania staff who attended her home, but said her initial experience made her doubt her instinct to report something unusual.

A Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment department spokesperson said hundreds of reports of possible fruit fly had been received, the majority of which were negative.

“The department is following up the matter as to how the landholder felt their call was initially handled,” the spokesperson said.

Staff have installed about 40 fruit fly traps at the Mowbray site and surrounding properties.

Traps within 200 metres of the Mowbray home are checked by department staff twice weekly and traps beyond that zone are checked weekly.

“Identification of fruit fly is undertaken by entomologists as there are a number of other fly species that can look similar to the species,” the spokesperson said.

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