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17 March 1998
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will take further steps today to rid eucalypt trees in two Mount Maunganui locations of an Australian insect pest.
MAF's National Manager Forest Health, Ross Morgan, says 14 trees on the Mount Maunganui and Omanu golf courses will be ground-sprayed this afternoon - weather permitting - to eradicate the pest.
Only three trees are infested with the pest - two at the Omanu course and one at the Mt Maunganui course - but the proximity of neighbouring trees means in all 14 trees will be treated to prevent the pest spreading.
The pest Uraba lugens is commonly known as the gum-leaf skeletoniser, and it's considered a potentially serious defoliator of eucalypts.
The insect was discovered as part of a routine surveillance programme last year and forestry staff have since been monitoring and treating the very localised infestation. Mr Morgan says the treatment appears to be working, since the insect has stayed put, and the number of trees requiring treatment has reduced from 62 to 14.
"I'm very pleased that the March survey confirms that the insects have not moved out of the area they were found in eight months ago."
Contractors will carry out the ground-spraying today and Mr Morgan says all the normal safety precautions have been taken. MAF has also been working closely with the managers of the golf courses, the Tauranga District Council and the local toxin awareness group.
MAF will continue monitoring eucalypt trees in the area.
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