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6 May 1999
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has found a type of moth related to the tussock moth on three properties in an industrial area in the Western Auckland suburb of Glendene.
The species is yet to be identified, but is not the white spotted tussock moth which sparked the Operation Ever Green eradication programme in Auckland in 1996.
There are a number of tree species on the sites, and the moths appear to be feeding on three or four of them. It is reported to be a voracious feeder.
All lifecycle stages of the moth have been found: eggs, caterpillars, pupae and adults.
Two of the properties involved are heavily infested, while another is less so. The properties upwind of these sites have been checked and cleared, while those downwind are being checked.
MAF is undertaking a delimiting survey to determine the extent of the infestation, and is awaiting the result of formal identification. This information will indicate the extent of spread, the risk posed by the moths, including the range of species it feeds on, and the best course of action to manage it.
In the meantime, containment work possibly involving ground spraying of the three sites in question is likely to take place as soon as possible.
It is not known how the moths entered the country, but it is known that it will lay its eggs not only on plants, but also on inanimate objects such as cars, containers, and personal effects.
Media inquiries to:
Dr Ruth Frampton, Chief Forestry Officer, Ministry of Agriculture and
Forestry (025) 350 801
Debbie Gee, Director, Corporate Communications, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (09) 474 4258