Painted Apple Moth Eradication Programme Starts
The extended painted apple moth eradication programme, which includes aerial spraying about 8,000 hectares in west Auckland, starts Monday 14 October – weather permitting.
The spray to be used is called Foray 48B. Its active ingredient is a naturally-occurring soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki or Btk for short. This product has been widely used throughout the world for over 30 years as a highly effective means of killing caterpillar pests. Some Btk products are approved organic pest control agents.
Three aircraft will used in the aerial spray operation - a Fokker Friendship, a small, fixed wing aircraft and a helicopter. The spray zone has been divided into two large blocks. The Friendship will cover the lower block (about 5,000 hectares) at the Waitakere ranges end of the zone and the small plane will cover about 3,000 hectares at the seaward side of the zone. Both will fly in a “racecourse” circuit – large oval circles starting from one end of the allotted area and moving methodically north/east. The helicopter will be used to “target” small areas of heavy caterpillar infestation – two gullies in the Wairau Creek and Glendene Stream, the Waikumete Cemetery and an area in Swanson near the Stagecoach bus depot.
Facts and figures
· On scheduled spray days a decision is made at 4.00 am on whether to go ahead, call it off for the day or delay making a decision until later in the morning.
· If the decision is to go ahead the operation will start at first light or the first available time weather permits
· If the operation is delayed a decision will be made later than morning
· If the operation is called off a decision will be made at 4.00am the next morning
· Reasons for delay or postponement – winds over 18kph, rain, overnight rain, or rain threatening
· The PAM free phone line 0800 96 96 96 – can give updates 24 hours and the website will be updated from 6.00am. www.maf.govt.nz/painted-apple-moth
· Three aircraft will be used – a Fokker Friendship, a small fixed wing plane (AT602) and a helicopter . The small plane and helicopter were used in the earlier programme.
· The aircraft will fly at 45 metres over built-up areas
· The aerial spray zone covers some 8,000 hectares and affects 40,000 properties
· In ideal conditions the operations could be over in about 7 hours – but more than one day’s spraying is likely
· Spraying is planned at this stage at three-weekly intervals but the programme will be constantly reviewed
· The targeted aerial spraying programme is in addition to ground control measures (ground spraying and removal of host material)
· The spray to be used is Btk-based Foray 48B
· Btk is found naturally in soil, air and water
· Btk kills only caterpillars
· Most people will not be affected by the spray and need not take any special health precautions
· However, those with significant food allergies or severe asthma should contact the PAM Health Service on 358 3206.
· An independent health risk assessment carried out by the Auckland District Health Board concluded that Foray 48B has never been implicated in human infection and is safe for use in the painted apple moth programme.