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General Aerial Operation Suspended

General Aerial Operation Suspended

The latest general aerial operation to wipe out the painted apple moth was suspended at 12.40 this afternoon. The two planes and helicopter were in the air before 7.00 am and made excellent progress, completing approximately 5,000 hectares before the threat of rain called the operation off.

The operation will resume soon at first light tomorrow morning – weather permitting. The two planes should complete the remaining 3,100 hectares within 2 hours. As it is school holidays, the aircraft will remain in the air between 8.00-9.00am and 10.15-11.00am.

For the second week in a row, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) have caught zero painted apple moths in their monitoring traps. MAF maintain an extensive network of 1,600 monitoring traps that are checked 1 or 2 times a week and provide data on the size and location of the painted apple moth population.

Throughout summer, scientists have recorded a steady and significant decline in painted apple moth numbers compared to the same time last year. For the fortnight commencing Saturday 12 April, there were no wild male painted apple moths caught either within or outside the eradication zone. In March, just 9 moths were trapped – less than 0.01% of the 996 caught last March.

“These positive results have already lead to two reductions to the eradication zone,” says Robert Isbister, General Manager Painted Apple Moth. “Our scientific team keep a constant watch on population indicators to determine what eradication measures are required. The lack of trap catches during summer is a strong indication that the eradication programme is working. Ongoing treatment and a prolonged pattern of empty traps are necessary to ensure all stages of the moth’s life cycle have been wiped out, in all areas. We are committed to making sure that every last moth has been eliminated.”

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