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8 May 1999
Spraying has been carried out this morning on properties in the West Auckland suburb of Glendene on which the painted apple moth has been found.
A widely-used organo-phosphate insecticide known as chlorpyrifos (pron: clor-pirro-fos) was applied from the ground to host trees on the infected properties as well as surfaces of buildings and other equipment or containers.
This insecticide has been widely used by farmers and horticulturalists for approximately ten years. It is commonly used to treat apples, pipfruit, stonefruit, kiwifruit and other crops as well as ornamentals for caterpillars and other insect pests. It is also a component in certain animal remedies, such as pour-ons used treat sheep for lice and ticks, and as a flea control in cats and dogs.
Chlorpyrifos is very effective against caterpillars, but less so during other stages of the moth's lifecycle (i.e. eggs, pupae, and adult). As caterpillars emerge from their eggs and moths from the pupae the insects may also be affected.
There may need to be a follow-up treatment to catch any new caterpillars that may hatch after the first treatment. Alternative sprays may be investigated for follow up treatment.
Meanwhile, the delimiting survey being carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has located the caterpillar on two more properties in Glendene. One of the properties is right next to the three original properties where the moth was found, while the other is about 300 metres away.
These new sites have also been ground spayed. The delimiting survey is expected to be completed about the middle of next week and will establish the extent of the infestation.
The painted apple moth is a native of parts of Australia (in South Queensland through to Victoria and the ACT, the south east of South Australia, and Tasmania) where it usually causes only minor problems. However, it does from time to time become a more serious problem for pines and acacias. It is not known how much of a problem it will cause under New Zealand conditions, and MAF is therefore treating the incursion very seriously, particularly because in this country it will not have its range of natural enemies.
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