No further fall webworm finds in Mt Wellington

9 May 2003

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Biosecurity Authority's plans to deal with the recent fall webworm discovery in the Mt Wellington area of Auckland are progressing well, Director Forest Biosecurity Peter Thomson said today.

An alert Mt Wellington resident in March discovered a single infestation on two adjacent properties. Fall webworm is characterised by the web it spins on its host plant. The webs are similar to those spun by the nurseryweb spider.

MAF launched an intensive response to the find by conducting ground surveys and deploying traps but to date the original find is the only one recorded.

"Fall webworm feeds on a wide range of plants and trees so it is considered to have a high pest potential in New Zealand. Under favourable conditions this pest can produce up to four generations a year so we will keep the trapping and survey programme going throughout the winter months," Peter Thomson said.

"At this stage, the evidence we have leads us to believe the webworm came from Japan.

"MAF is asking residents in the Mt Wellington area to check their backyards for any unusual webs on exotic broadleaf and fruit trees and call MAF on 0800 80 99 66 if they find anything."

MAF recently held a meeting of experts within New Zealand and overseas to establish the best response to the Mt Wellington infestation.

"MAF considers that given this pest's potential impact, an aggressive approach to its containment and eradication is the best option. The majority of moth experts support this view.

"The eradication tools that could be used to eradicate this pest include ground spraying and mass trapping using pheromone lures. MAF is also not discounting the possibility that aerial spraying may be necessary," Peter Thomson said.

For further information contact:
MAF Biosecurity Authority communications adviser Tina Nixon Ph 0-27-223 2789



Last Updated: 01 October 2010

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