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Further Fall Webworm Finds

Wednesday 6 April 2005

Further Fall Webworm Finds

Two more fall webworm moths have been found at Mt Wellington Auckland, Biosecurity New Zealand manager of eradication programmes Ian Gear said today. A surveillance trapping programme for fall webworm at Mt Wellington was established in 2003 following the detection of a nest of fall webworm larvae.

No moths were trapped until February this year when two further male fall webworms were found. At Easter, a further male moth was found near the Otahuhu Creek – about 4km away from the February finds – and yesterday another moth was found at the foot of Mt Wellington in the Tamaki-Panmure area.

“The distance between the latest finds means we require more information before we can decide on future management options.

“A technical advisory group (TAG) will be consulted to provide advice to MAF on future management options.

“MAF will also talk to local authorities and other stakeholders about future management activities. The next opportunity to take control measures against the larval stage of fall webworm will be this coming spring, 2005. “The trapping programme for fall webworm moths is vital in helping establish the density and spread of the pest. The trapping grid will be extended so that we can continue to build a picture of the nature of this incursion,” Ian Gear said.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has further extended vegetation movement controls under Section 131 (2) of the Biosecurity Act 1993, as these controls are considered to be an effective tool to limit the spread of this pest, Ian Gear said. The controls mean the movement of vegetation such as garden waste outside the zone is prohibited.

“It is an offence under the Biosecurity Act for anyone to knowingly cause the spread of the fall webworm. Unless a permit is issued, it is also an offence to move vegetation from the controlled area or to dispose of vegetation anywhere except the refuse transfer facilities at Pikes Point transfer station (Captain Springs Rd), commercial waste to the Greenmount landfill (Smails Rd), Kaipara Greenfield's transfer station (Cryers Rd) or Waste Disposal Services (Neales Rd). “We are confident that the residents of Mt Wellington and surrounding suburbs realise the impact that this pest could have and that they will comply with the vegetation movement controls.

We also ask everybody to take a good look in their gardens for any sign of this pest, which spins unique web structures in trees and shrubs,” Ian Gear said. A public notice advising of the details of the extent of the areas included in the Vegetation Control Zone will be placed in the New Zealand Herald on 13 April 2005. If anyone has any queries relating to vegetation movement control they can ring the information line on 0800 96 96 96.

ENDS

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