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Waikato weather ‘ideal’ for pest eradication

Waikato weather ‘ideal’ for pest eradication

Waikato’s fine spring weather has been a major boost to efforts to rid the city of the gypsy moth, with near-perfect conditions for today’s (Wed 15th Oct) second aerial operation.

The operation got underway shortly after first light and was completed at 10am.

Robert Isbister, General Manager of Gypsy Moth, says this morning’s conditions of little wind, no rain, a temperature of about 15 degrees Celsius and no significant cloud cover provides excellent conditions for aerial operations.

“These are ideal weather conditions for our aerial operations providing us with the best possible result for successful treatment,” says Mr Isbister.

“With little wind we were able to achieve maximum accuracy of application with minimal drift. From an operation point of view we couldn’t have asked for better weather conditions.”

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has a programme of eight aerial operations to wipe out the Gypsy Moth – a pest that has the potential to devastate large tracts of native trees and plants.

The eradication programme is necessary after the discovery of a male Gypsy Moth in Frankton this year. Experts believe it hatched in New Zealand and they say a widespread eradication programme is essential to ensure the pest will not spread.

Foray 48B, which was successfully used to eradicate the white tussock moth in Auckland in 1996-97, and which is being successfully used in West Auckland to combat the Painted Apple Moth, is being used in Hamilton for the Gypsy Moth.

In addition to aerial operations, MAF is also undertaking trapping, ground searching and treatment as well as vegetation control. This combination is considered to be the most effective way to successfully eradicate Gypsy Moth.

Interruption of the Gypsy Moth Information Line, 0800 96 96 96, for a period of time caused the only disruption of the programme this morning.

“The issue with the 0800 number was intermittent and not confined to the Hamilton region or to the Gypsy Moth Information Line,” says Mr Isbister.

“We are fortunate that we have multiple lines of contact with people interested in the progress of the aerial operations, including those registered with the Health Service. Text messaging and email are the most obvious means of keeping in touch with them.”

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