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14 May 1999
A delimiting survey in the West Auckland suburb of Glendene to determine the extent of spread of the painted apple moth has been completed, with no new infested sites being found.
The survey covered an area of one kilometre radius around the original find.
The infestation remains confined to six properties in total - five clustered together, and one about 300 metres away, plus an area of Waitakere City Council reserve. The entire area involved is less than one square kilometre.
Weather permitting, these infested properties will be sprayed again with the widely -used organo-phosphate, chlorpyrifos (pron: clor-pirro-fos), over the weekend.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will as necessary, repeat spraying, and entomologists will continue to monitor the area for the presence of painted apple moth.
This includes taking calls from members of the public reporting that they have found painted apple moth caterpillar in their gardens. More than a hundred Aucklanders have rung MAF to report insects they think may be the moth or its caterpillar. To date, none of these have in fact turned out to be painted apple moth, but MAF appreciates the interest being taken.
While the moth itself looks like many others and can only be identified under a microscope, the caterpillar is quite distinctive.It is large (up to 2 to 3 centimetres long, although they can be smaller), fat, and very hairy. It is covered from tip to tip with long gray hairs, and four distinct tufts, like tiny shaving brushes. It is gray and yellowy-orange, but its hairiness tends to make it appear quite muted in colour. The hairiness is a key identifying feature - anything without profuse hair all over it is not the painted apple moth caterpillar.
If members of the public think they have a likely candidate, they should call MAF's National Plant Pest Reference Laboratory at Lynfield on 09-627 2534 (not the main number listed in the phonebook).
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