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First Aerial Operation Completed in One Day


First Aerial Operation Against The Painted Apple Moth Completed In One Day

The extended painted apple moth eradication programme which includes aerial spraying about 8,000 hectares in west Auckland was completed at about 4:45 pm today.

General Manager of the Painted Apple Moth Operation, Robert Isbister said: “Today’s aerial operation was a great success largely because the weather was on our side with rain and wind staying away. We are delighted to have been able to minimise the disruption to the people of west Auckland by completing the whole area in one day.”

Three aircraft - a Fokker Friendship, a small, fixed wing aircraft and a helicopter – worked smoothly together over the suburbs of Te Atatu South, Massey West, Ranui, Henderson North, Western Heights, Palm Heights, McLaren Park, Oratia, Glen Eden West, Glen Eden, Sunnyvale, Henderson, Lincoln, Glendene, Kelston, Harbour View, Avondale, Waterview; parts of New Lynn, Mt Albert, Point Chevalier and Blockhouse Bay. Traherne Island and the north western motorway between Lincoln Road and Waterview ramps were also included in the aerial zone.

The spray zone was divided into two large blocks. The Friendship covered the lower block (about 5,000 hectares) at the Waitakere ranges end of the zone and the small plane covered about 3,000 hectares at the seaward side of the zone. Both flew at the Civil Aviation Authority-approved height of 45 metres and worked in a “racecourse” circuit – large oval circles starting from one end of the allotted area and moving methodically north/east.

The helicopter was 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.

The product 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.

The next aerial operation will be announced soon.


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