Green Light for Moth Aerial Spray

21 January 2002

Targeted aerial spraying against the painted apple moth began at first light today.

At 6.20am the twin engine helicopter lifted off to spray Traherne Island which runs either side of the north-western motorway. It will then target the northern tip of the Avondale Peninsula ands then move to Waikumete Cemetery.

The plan is to then systematically spray 30 metre-wide swathes covering targeted areas on the rest of the Avondale Peninsula and areas bordering the Whau River and its tributaries in the suburbs of Glendene and Kelston.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technology to programme the helicopters to ensure only those properties in the targeted zone are sprayed and that properties are sprayed only once during each operation.

Most people will not be affected by the spray which has been given a clean bill of health from the Auckland District Health Board. However, MAF says as a precaution, those with health concerns should stay indoors with windows and doors closed for two hours after the helicopter has passed overhead.

It is expected to take around seven hours to cover the entire aerial spray zone of around 560 hectares. However, because of Auckland's changeable weather the chances of completing a spray within a day are very unlikely. If the weather changes (i.e. the wind increases or rain threaten) spraying will be postponed until the next suitable morning.

The helicopter will not spray in winds greater than 12kph. This is to minimise spray drift. In a worse-case scenario (i.e. winds of 12 kph) spray drift is expected to be about 200 metres.

About six to eight targeted aerial spraying operations are anticipated but after three sprays the operation will be reviewed. There will be about three to four weeks between each operation.

The painted apple moth, a native of Australia, was found in Glendene two years ago and the MAF has been tackling the pest with ground spraying and the removal of vegetation on which the caterpillar feeds. The targeted aerial spraying will enhance the ground control programme and is aimed at hard-to-reach areas such as steep terrain, gullies and tall trees.

The aerial spraying target zone includes about 3,000 west Auckland and Avondale residential and industrial properties.

For more information please contact:
Mary-Ann Crawford MAF Communications Project Painted Apple Moth. MOB: 021 648 117



Last Updated: 05 October 2010

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