Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Butterfly Fans Urged To Kill Moth Plant

MEDIA RELEASE
0800 002 004 | www.nrc.govt.nz Putting Northland first

Date: 11 February, 2013

Butterfly Fans Urged To Kill Moth Plant

The moth plant has added ‘butterfly killer’ to a resume that has already earned it the dubious distinction of being one of the region’s most unwanted pest plants and a reputation as a weed local biosecurity experts love to hate.

Sara Brill, a biosecurity officer for the Northland Regional Council, says
moth plant (Araujia sericifera) is a highly invasive and toxic vine ranked among Northland’s top five non-pastoral climbing pest plants.

“It invades and smothers native forest areas, garden shrubs, shelterbelt trees and roadside plants and its milky, sticky sap can also cause skin irritation and ill health.”

However, Ms Brill says as if there weren’t already enough reasons to heartily dislike moth plant, its flowers can also fatally trap the Monarch butterflies many Northlanders love to see around their neighbourhoods.

She says moth plants are just one of a host of dangers Monarchs face, which begin when they emerge from eggs as caterpillars.

“They’re often taken away by ravaging wasps carrying them off to feed their babies.”

Ms Brill says those caterpillars which survive wasps and other perils long enough to turn into butterflies then look around for flowers and nectar for food.

“The moth plant - or perhaps more aptly named ‘cruel plant’ as it is sometimes known - has masses of lovely flowers full of nectar at the moment. Unfortunately, what the unsuspecting butterfly doesn’t know is that this nectar is so sticky it will trap the butterfly’s tongue and it can’t get away.”

Ms Brill says the trapped butterflies often die with their tongues firmly stuck in the flower and she and a colleague had recently come across a relatively small moth plant in Whangarei that held a number of dead Monarchs trapped in its flowers.

The plant is common throughout Northland and is easily recognised by its climbing vine, with paired, oblong leaves and distinctive small, clustered white flowers which develop into choko-like seedpods. It has a white, sticky sap.

She says people keen to get rid of moth plants can remove small infestations by hand.

“Seedlings are easy to pull but even large plants can be easily killed by finding the main root and pulling out about 5cm of the root. The plant will wilt within 24 hours and you can see if you have missed any smaller ones. Pull them out on public land when you see them and offer to pull out your neighbours’ moth plants as well!”

Ms Brill says large infestations may need to be over-sprayed using 5g metsulfuron methyl (for example Escort®) plus 10 ml penetrant in 10 litres of water.

“Ensure only the foliage is treated as this herbicide can transfer in the soil and kill surrounding plants, including natives.”

Those keen to help butterflies can also plant environmentally species that are good safe sources of food for them including Alyssum, bee balm, Cosmos, Echinacea, lavender, marigolds (single petal varieties), Michaelmas daisy, Mexican sunflower, Rudbeckia, Shasta daisy, snapdragon, Solidago, sweet William, sunflower, Verbena and Zinnia.

For more information about pest animals or plants in your back yard contact the Northland Regional Council on 0800 002 004 and ask to speak to a biosecurity officer or visit www.nrc.govt.nz/nasties


Credit: Ross Johnson
The remains of a Monarch butterfly, killed when its tongue became trapped in sticky moth plant nectar.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Half Empty: Dairy Prices Drop To Lowest Since August 2009

Dairy product prices fell to the lowest level in more than five years in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, led by declines in butter milk powder and whole milk powder.

”Stocks of dairy commodities are building across the globe due to Russia’s current ban on importing dairy products from many Western nations, and a lack of urgency from Chinese buyers, while at the same time global milk supplies are expanding,” AgriHQ dairy analyst Susan Kilsby said in a note. More>>

 

Slippage: NZ Universities Still In Top 3% Globally

This year the University of Auckland ranked 175 (down from 164 last year); the University of Otago ranked 251-275th (down from 226-250), both Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Canterbury held their ranks (at 276-300thand 301-350 respectively), while the University of Waikato dropped from 301-350 to 351-400. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On The Last Rites For The TPP

The Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal is one of those litmus issues that has always had more to do with one’s place on the political spectrum than with any imminent reality... For the TPP’s friends and foes alike though, the end now seems nigh. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Farcical Elevation Of David Seymour

With the election won, it’s time to find jobs for the boy. David Seymour is the Act Party’s latest scrounger to be rewarded by the National Party, and not only with a seat in Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

As Key Mulls Joining ISIS Fighting: McCully Speech To UN Backs Security Council Bid

It is an honour to address you today on behalf of the Prime Minister and Government of New Zealand. Our General Election took place last week - our Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key is engaged in forming a government and that is why he is unable to be here in New York... More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Cunliffe Triggers Party Wide Leadership Contest

David Cunliffe has resigned as Labour Leader, but says he will seek re-election... If there is any contest the election will have to go through a process involving the party membership and union affiliates. More>>

ALSO:

Flyover Appeal: Progress And Certainty, Or Confusion And More Delays?

Lindsay Shelton: The Transport Agency, embarrassed by the rejection of its flyover alongside the Basin Reserve, says it’s appealing because the decision could “constrain progress.” Yet for most clear-sighted Wellingtonians a 300-metre-long concrete structure above Kent and Cambridge Terraces would in no way be seen as progress… More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Cunliffe’s Last Stand

Right now, embattled Labour leader David Cunliffe has three options. None of them are particularly attractive for him personally, or for the Labour Party... More>>

ALSO:

Key Seeking 'New Ideas': Look To Children’s Commissioner On Poverty - Greens

John Key should not reinvent the wheel when it comes to ideas for tackling child poverty, and instead look to the recommendations of the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Group on Child Poverty, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news