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No news is good news for Auckland orchardists

No news is good news for Auckland orchardists
July 3, 2003

A survey by Auckland Regional Council’s Biosecurity officers has so far failed to find any evidence of the guava moth in the Auckland Region.

The survey, initiated by HortResearch, was designed to find out whether guava moth had moved south of Whangarei into the Auckland Region.

Biosecurity Officers set up the traps throughout the Auckland Region and completed monitoring between April and June, to coincide with feijoa fruiting. Although guava moth feeds readily on guavas, feijoa fruit is the favoured host and, as feijoas are widely grown in the northern regions, green pheromone traps were placed in feijoa trees to lure male moths.

Guava moth, Coscinoptycha improbana was first found in Kaitaia in May 1997. It is native to Australia where it is commonly seen in autumn feeding on guava fruit. MAF suggests that it probably arrived between 1995 and 1997, being blown across the Tasman on favourable winds that also carried several other new Australian insect species. It spread from Kaitaia to Whangarei in only 2 years.

There is high potential for the moth to spread throughout New Zealand with fruit movement.

Guava moth is a major concern for fruit and nut growers because of its wide host range, severe damage to a range of organic fruit and nut crops and its potential to disrupt export fruit consignments. The moth will readily feed on feijoas, macadamias, loquats, citrus and a number of other fruits.

Northland orchardists suffering severe damage by guava moth have found that conventional control measures used for other pests are ineffective against this insect.

At present Auckland Region’s orchardists need not plan for guava moth control. Next year may be a different story. There is always a need for vigilance with the potential that any biosecurity incursion can threaten horticulture, primary production, human health or the natural environment in the Auckland Region.

ENDS

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