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Unwelcome newcomer gets the pheromone treatment

Media release 29 August, 2001

Unwelcome newcomer gets the pheromone treatment

A pheromone to combat the recent unwelcome immigrant, the Australian Guava Moth, has been identified by a HortResearch team of insect chemical ecologists.

The scientists led by Max Suckling, have identified the pheromone for the moth that was first detected near Kaitaia in the winter of 1999. The larvae infest a range of fruits including guavas, citrus, feijoas, stonefruit, nashi pears, loquats and macadamias.

The team worked in collaboration with Dr Jenny Dymock, an entomologist who provided the insect samples. HortResearch’s Andy Gibb and Dr Bruce Morris identified the pheromone components. Moths caught in traps baited at three Northland sites have confirmed that the pheromone lures work. Further experiments to optimise the trapping system are underway.

Little is known about the moth’s biology, but this new research will help to answer questions about that.

Rick Curtis of the Fruitgrowers Federation said that the pest is a “significant concern” for Northland growers and they are pleased to have the new tool for pest management.

"The pheromone will offer growers new hope of managing guava moth," Dr Suckling said.

Words 177

For more information please contact: Dr Max Suckling HortResearch Canterbury Tel: (64) 3 325 6609 Fax: (64) 3 325 6063 Email: msuckling@hortresearch.co.nz

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