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16 November 1999
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will today begin a response programme aimed at
eradicating subterranean termites from a number of properties in Otorohanga, south of
Subterranean termites are a native Australian pest not currently established in New
Zealand. The original source of the infestation is thought to be hardwood power poles
imported from Australia, erected in the late 1950s.
The termites were first reported in 1990, when tenants reported winged insects emerging
from a doorjamb to the local district council offices. Responses carried out by the former
Ministry of Forestry in 1990, 1994 and 1998 failed to eradicate the infestation. Up to
July this year, the termites have still been active in the area.
A delimiting survey carried out in March this year found termite activity on nine
properties in a concentrated area of 1.2 to 1.4 hectares. In the nine years since the
infestation was first noted, no new areas of infestation have been confirmed within the
Last week, MAF oversaw the removal and disposal of three power poles.
The next stage of the response is the placement of bait stations at seven selected
properties. The residents of the properties have been notified individually by MAF.
Bait station placement will involve the inspection of the properties for termites,
installing the bait stations, and on-going monthly monitoring. A team of four technicians
will be responsible for the initial placement of the bait stations.
Debbie Gee, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Director Communications 04 474 4258
Mark Ross, MAF Biosecurity Authority, National Adviser Forest Pest Surveillance and
Response, Ph 025 248 3296
Dr Ruth Frampton, MAF Biosecurity Authority, Director Forest Biosecurity, Ph 04 498
9639 or 025 350 801