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10 May 1999
The painted apple moth discovered on industrial properties in the West Auckland suburb does not pose a serious threat to horticulture in its native Australia, and is considered unlikely to pose a major threat in New Zealand.
The site of the infestation is mainly industrial land, but nearby orchardists have expressed concern about the risk the insect may pose to their crops.
Information from Australia, where the painted apple moth is found in South Queensland through to Victoria and the ACT, the south east of South Australia, and Tasmania, is that it usually causes only minor problems.
It does from time to time become a more serious problem for pines and acacias, but is not reported to be a major problem for orchards.
It is a pest primarily in unsprayed areas. Sprays commonly used by the horticultural industry to get rid of other pests would be effective on the painted apple moth caterpillar, such as the organo-phosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos (pron: clor-pirro-fos), which is being used to ground spray the infested properties in Glendene.
Investigations carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry indicate the pest is likely to have little, if any impact, on trade.
However, it is not known how much of a problem it will cause under New Zealand conditions, particularly because in this country it will not have its range of natural enemies, and MAF is therefore treating the incursion very seriously.
The painted apple moth has a wide host range. It feeds on acacias, eucalyptus, the rose family (e.g. apples, pears, cherries, apricots and roses), cotoneaster, passionfruit, broad beans and lupins, gardenias, lantana, willow, macrocarpas. It also feeds on pinus radiata, although this is not its first choice.
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 (04) 474 4258