Fruit Fly

​​​​​​​​​If you see what you think m​ay be signs of fruit fly immediately contact Biosecurity Tasmania (03) 6165 3777.

Tasmania is an internationally recognised fruit fly pest free area. This gives our fruit producers access to lucrative overseas markets and reduces the need for pesticides to control these destructive horticultural pests.

The two species of most concern to Tasmania are Queensland fruit fly​​, which is present in the eastern mainland states and the Northern Territory; and Mediterranean fruit fly, which is an introduced species established in parts of Western Australia.

​Our commitments to help ensure the State’s ongoing fruit fly freedom are outlined in Tasmania’s fruit fly strategy:

Queensland fruit fly was detected in northern Tasmania in 2018, but the outbreaks were quickly eradicated. 


Protecting Tasmania

Routine biosecurity measures are in place around the State to protect Tasmania from introduced pests and diseases, including:

  • strict requirements for the import of produce before it enters the State
  • targeted inspections of produce as it enters the State
  • checking passengers, luggage, freight and mail at the border
  • checking the permanent fruit fly trap network across the State

Visit our Traveller's Guide webpage for further information on what you can and cannot bring to Tasmania.

​​See it. Secure it. Report it.

Tasmania's biosecurity is a shared responsibility. Your help in being vigilant and obeying the strict import requirements is essential to protecting our industries, economy, environment and our way of life from the consequences of unwanted pest and disease incursions.​

You are more likely to see fruit fly larvae (maggots) than actual flies. Fruit fly larvae are 5-10 mm in length and about 1-1.5 mm in width. They are usually easy to see in the flesh of the fruit. If you are not sure, please report it anyway. 

Evidence of fruit fly activity is sometimes seen as puncture marks (stings) in the skin of fruit. The stings are where the female fruit fly has laid her eggs.

There are no costs involved in reporting and you would be performing an important public service in alerting us to anything that might be fruit fly.

​Do not dispose of any fruit that has a maggot you think might be fruit fly. Instead place fruit in a plastic bag or plastic container and put it in your fridge until a Biosecurity Tasmania officer can arrange collection.

​​​​​​If you see what you think may be signs of fruit fly immediately contact Bi​osecurity Tasmania (03) 6165 3777.

Life cycle

There are four stages in the life cycle of a fruit fly: egg, larva (maggot), pupa and adult. 

Fruit flies lay eggs in maturing and ripe fruit on trees and sometimes in fallen fruit. The fruit is destroyed by the feeding larvae and by associated fruit decay. 

Mature larvae leave the fruit and burrow into the soil beneath the tree to pupate.

Fruit fly adults emerge from their pupal cases in the soil and burrow towards the surface. Then the cycle begins again. 

Host produce

Fruit flies lay eggs in a wide range of fruits. This list is a guide to potential Queensland fruit fly hosts.

​Queensland fruit fly​

A mature Queensland fruit fly is around 6-8 mm long and is reddish-brown with some yellow markings.

Queensland fruit fly

Queensland fruit fly larvae 

Queensland fruit fly
(Image: DPIRD WA)
​Queensland fruit fly larvae
(Image: Dr John Golding)

Mediterranean fruit fly

A mature Mediterranean fruit fly are 3–5 mm long, light brown, with the abdomen encircled by two light-coloured rings. They also have mottled wings.

Mediterranean fruit fly 
Mediterranean fruit fly larvae 

Mature Mediterranean fruit fly
(Image: DPIRD WA)

Mediterranean fruit fly larvae
(Image: DPIRD WA)

Drosophila or vinegar flie​s

Drosophila melanogaster Vinegar fly 

Vinegar fly - Drosophila melanogaster (Image: I. Cret )

Drosophila, commonly known as vinegar flies, are often confused for fruit flies. Vinegar flies lay eggs in already damaged or rotting fruit that would not be harvested or eaten. They do not attack healthy, undamaged fruit and therefore have no impact on Tasmanian fruit production.

Vinegar flies are common in Tasmania and are often seen hovering over compost heaps and kitchen fruit bowls. 

​Adult vinegar flies are between three and four millimetres in length, half the size of an adult Queensland fruit fly. Vinegar flies have dark tan bodies and bright red eyes.


Biosecurity Enquiries