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