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Termites successfully eradicated from Otorohanga

Media Statement
5 May 2005

Termites successfully eradicated from Otorohanga

One of the world's most destructive pests - subterranean termites - has been successfully eradicated from three sites, including one infestation in Otorohanga, Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Subterranean termites, Coptotermes acinaciformis which come from Australia, are an unwanted organism under the Biosecurity Act 1993.

Mr Sutton said measures were taken at 28 properties in Otorohanga to ensure the successful eradication, with about a dozen houses initially infested.

Termites were first reported in Otorohanga in 1990 when a resident noticed winged insects emerging from a door jamb and informed the local council. The termites are believed to have been introduced in two imported utility poles in the 1950s. Initial attempts at extermination were unsuccessful.

In 1999, local and international experts met to formulate an eradication plan, which made use of better eradication methods which had been developed since the termites were first reported.

This involved placement of about 300 bait stations using a slow acting toxin, placement of sticky traps to catch termites as they flew around as part of their breeding cycle, placement of 200 wooden stakes and inspections of hardwood utility poles and other areas to monitor termite activity. Movement controls on material that could host termites also formed part of the strategy.

By March 2000, three months after the plan was put in place, termite activity had ceased. No further activity has been detected since, despite ongoing and intensive monitoring.

Mr Sutton said infestations at the Piako substation power storage depot near Morrinsville and a house in Matamata, both of which were first detected in 1998, have also been declared eradicated.

The sites were treated and also intensively monitored, with no termite activity detected since 2001.

Mr Sutton said he was delighted that the termites had been successfully eradicated.

"When pests have been in the country for as long as these have, eradication can be difficult. I congratulate MAF Biosecurity and the local council for their hard work on this project."

Otorohanga District Council Deputy Mayor Hugh Earwaker said the Council was thrilled with the formal announcement that these pests have been eradicated.

"We are very appreciative of the work that MAF, and particularly Mark Ross, has put in to achieving this great result for our community."


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