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Moth to help rid Bay of broom



Moth to help rid Bay of broom

For immediate release: 16 December 2008

Broom is a significant pest plant in the region, so Environment Bay of Plenty is trialling a natural controlling agent in the form of a moth.  The broom shoot moth will be released in the Murupara area on Wednesday 17 December in a proactive move to deal with this pest plant.

Environment Bay of Plenty pest plant officer Des Pooley said adult moths would be couriered to Whakatane from Landcare Research’s Lincoln campus and taken to a suitable release site.

“Broom is an aggressive pest plant that’s well established in the Bay of Plenty, especially in inland parts of the region,” Mr Pooley said.

The Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) has approved the release of the broom shoot moth as a biological control agent in New Zealand.

The adult moths are about 10 millimetres long and pale brown with some darker spots on their wings. They’re nocturnal, but most easily identified in their larvae stage feeding on broom leaves.

Mr Pooley said the release of these moths should help to reduce sprays and pesticides that are used to control broom.

“The damage is done to broom by the caterpillars which feed on the leaves and can kill off the stems and small branches by ring-barking them,” Mr Pooley explained.

Following the release of the broom shoot moth the site will be monitored. When sufficient numbers have been established the moth will be redistributed to other parts of the Bay of Plenty.

Environment Bay of Plenty assists Landcare Research with funding for biological control programs. There are now six biological control agents in New Zealand to assist in controlling broom.



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