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Painted Apple Moth found in Otahuhu.

DATE 10 May 2005

Painted Apple Moth found in Otahuhu.

A painted apple moth trapped in Auckland last week is likely to be a new arrival, Biosecurity New Zealand Eradication Programmes Manager Ian Gear says.

The find, a live male moth in a trap set up as part of the ongoing eradication effort, was made at an Otahuhu container facility on Thursday and confirmed late yesterday.

Ian Gear says that while information was still being gathered that would shed more light on the find, it was likely the moth was a recent introduction.

“This is a single moth. If there was a population, we’d expect to have trapped more,” he says.

“The trap was right on the edge of the grid set up as part of the existing response, and the moth was very much alive. It was in pretty good nick, which indicates it had not flown far. The area is right in the middle of a heavy industrial zone with lots of import activity, plenty of cargo containers and very little vegetation.”

The last Painted Apple Moth capture was in Mount Eden in January 2004 – more than a year ago – and about 12km from the moth trapped last week.

“Every indication we have had to date tells us that the current eradication programme has been successful. All this latest find proves is that the surveillance programme is working. We’re still gathering information and taking the necessary measures to determine what, if any, further action is required,” says Ian Gear.

Procedures in place to deal with any incursion are designed to allow rapid action. A Science and Technical Advisory Group has discussed the find and the actions required at this stage. They include ground searches, extending the trapping zone for a radius of 10km around the latest find, and the release of sterile male moths.

ENDS

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