Sterile Queensland fruit flies are being imported over the next few months for use in a research project to identify new attractants that may have the potential to improve surveillance and response for this unwanted pest.
As part of a long-term project to learn more about odour attractants, the flies are being used within a containment facility at Plant and Food Research to identify firstly any odours that flies can smell, and secondly, any behavioural activity they then demonstrate – such as flight towards odours. This work will allow scientists to then identify which compounds have the most potential to improve current surveillance and response systems.
Over 50 odours have so far been identified that female and / or male flies can detect and combinations of these will be trialled to determine flies response to any of these, or combinations of these, better than the existing attractants.
Read more about the ongoing research project in the Fruit Fly section of the KVH website.
The latest KVH risk update for fruit fly has been published.
Using latest data from the Ministry for Primary Industries the update includes border information for March 2017 and updated surveillance trap numbers.
The risk period for fruit fly stretches until June so please do note the reminders we’ve included about what to look out for and what to do if you suspect you have found any kind of fruit fly.
A July 2017 target has been set for completion of the Operational Agreement, under GIA, to prepare for and respond to a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMB) incursion.
KVH is part of the group that has been set up to lead the development of the agreement, alongside MPI and other horticulture industry sector groups.
This agreement follows on from another one signed by KVH in mid-March to help reduce the damaging impacts of the four most common biosecurity threats to the kiwifruit and kiwiberry sectors: Ceratocystis fimbriata, Verticillium wilt, Psa-non New Zealand strains and Invasive Phytophthoras.
The first agreement of its kind was the multi-sector agreement for the management of fruit fly in New Zealand which KVH signed in May 2014.
What is the GIA? It’s a partnership between government and industry for improving New Zealand’s biosecurity. Industry organisations (such as KVH on behalf of kiwifruit) and the Ministry for Primary Industries, sign a Deed that formally establishes a biosecurity partnership. Deed Signatories negotiate and agree the priority pests and diseases of most concern to them and agree actions to minimise the risk and impact of an incursion, prepare for and manage a response if an incursion occurs, and cost sharing.
In recent issues of the Bulletin we’ve outlined a number of initiatives KVH is involved in to improve readiness for Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB).
These initiatives have been focused on keeping the pest out, raising public awareness so that we detect any arrivals, developing an eradication approach, working towards a pre-emptive approval for the release of a biocontrol agent and developing an Operational Agreement for BMSB under GIA so that horticultural industries agree on decision making and cost sharing for this pest.
These activities are all still continuing across the horticultural sector, however we are also undertaking initiatives specific to the kiwifruit sector.
KVH has presented to industry forums to identify and work through some of the high level challenges and decisions we may face as a sector. These forums include the NZKGI Executive and forum, Industry Advisory Council (IAC), Industry Supply Group (ISG), and supply groups such as G4.
KVH is also working with Zespri to develop on-orchard management strategies for this pest should it establish, to identify the best control approach and if needed implement research to support this. KVH and Zespri are holding a small technical workshop to progress this in early May and are leveraging off the experience of Northern Hemisphere horticultural sectors and research initiatives.
Late last week MPI temporarily suspended importation of rockmelon and honeydew melon from Australia because of the detection of live insects on several recent consignments.
Although none of the insects found were fruit flies, it does indicate there could possibly be an issue with the post-harvest treatment (dimethoate) that is used in the management of risk from fruit flies.
KVH fully supports the precautionary measure MPI has taken – protecting New Zealand from fruit flies is of the highest importance. There is a chance that consumer supply of the melon is affected over the next couple of weeks but we believe this to be a small inconvenience compared to a fruit fly incursion that could disrupt trade and result in large economic losses for exporters.
We were also pleased to see that on Tuesday MPI announced their x-ray screening had found a passenger’s bag full of undeclared fruit and vegetables at Christchurch airport.
The traveller was flying from Sydney over Easter weekend and admitted she was trying to smuggle the food into New Zealand. MPI and Immigration New Zealand worked together and the passenger was denied entry into the country – a strong stance, fully supported by KVH and one that shows our border systems are working and that Government is serious about biosecurity. Any one of the smuggled items could have been carrying unwanted pest threats that could have a devastating impact and KVH believes the right action was taken.
Motel cleaners hailed as horticultural heroes was the headline for several stories in New Zealand and Australian media recently. The articles detailed finds of BMSB earlier this year and highlighted the importance of the bugs being spotted and reported to MPI.
Stories like these continue to raise the profile of not only our most unwanted pests but also the need for everyone to be on the lookout and know what to do if they find an anything unusual.
Here at KVH our key message is to ‘catch it, snap it, report it’ – no matter how unsure people are about what they’ve found - and we hope to see more positive news media like this championing the same message.
Using latest data from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) we’ve produced a risk update for fruit fly. The update includes interception data for the calendar year and information about the surveillance programme in place. Read the update here (it’s also available to download anytime from the KVH website).
The Queensland Fruit Fly risk period stretches until June so we’ve also included important reminders about what to look out for and what to do if you suspect you’ve found this unwanted pest.
Horticulture New Zealand hosted a workshop to improve industry understanding of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) last Thursday.
Run at the end of the Horticulture Industry Forum in Wellington, KVH were invited to take part along with other industry stakeholders.
The workshop was based on a fictional find of a bug in the Gisborne region and included a simulation, the basis for a response, and how the industry can support a response. There will be a round-up of the key learnings put together for everyone to review but one that was highlighted right from the outset was the importance of getting community support and buy-in from the start.
Groups across the industry – HortNZ, KVH, Pipfruit New Zealand, NZ Wine, and NZ Avocadoes – are working together to develop best practice BMSB risk management expectations and guidelines to support importers and distributors of farm and orchard equipment and supplies from high-risk BMSB countries, such as tractors from Italy.
KVH is also planning a further exercise scenario with Zespri over the coming weeks to ensure there are robust plans in place for quickly getting information to and from growers in the event of a BMSB find.
Communications campaigns to get information out to the public continue to take place. There has been fantastic uptake of the MPI video about BMSB featuring Ruud, the bug man (watch below). In just over a month the video has been viewed on Facebook more than 160 thousand times and has reached just over 330,000 people through their Facebook pages – if you haven’t already viewed or shared it with colleagues, family and friends please do.
Two further videos were also developed last week targeting travellers and those who receive mail. These are quick, short animated videos encouraging and reminding people to check their bags and parcels. Released over the weekend they are already proving popular and help to spread the message about being on the lookout for this serious threat.
Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy said on Wednesday that various activities – like the ones above – to prevent the establishment of BMSB have ramped up over summer and helped raise public awareness of this serious threat.
“Work underway includes detector dog training, research on the effectiveness of lures, obtaining approval for chemical sprays and public awareness advertising and campaigns.”
“There is also mandatory treatments of vehicle and machinery pathways, and targeted verification inspections on sea containers. MPI will soon be visiting European exporters of high risk cargo and working with them to mitigate these risks.”
KVH continues to work closely with MPI as part of the GIA on biosecurity and in the last Bulletin published an update (including data) on all pre-border, border and post-border interventions to manage BMSB risk.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) continues to offer a $1,000 reward to Bay of Plenty residents who report sightings of an aggressive pest bird, the red-vented bulbul.
MPI is working in partnership with the Department of Conservation and local authorities to eradicate the bird, an introduced pest that’s renowned for the damage it inflicts on fruit and vegetable crops.
With our extensive kiwifruit industry and other horticultural crops, this is not a bird we want in the Bay of Plenty.
A single red vented bulbul was found and removed near Te Puke last year and the person who reported it received the reward – which is $1,000 for information that leads directly to a successful removal by a member of the MPI response team.
If you think you’ve seen a red-vented bulbul, please report the sighting to MPI on 0800 80 99 66 with an indication of location as well as a photo if possible.
Red-vented bulbuls are a medium-sized bird around the size of a starling (20 cm in length – body and tail). They are generally dark brown/grey coloured with a lighter chest and rump, a small crest (upstanding feathers) on their head, and significantly, a very distinctive crimson-red patch of feathers beneath their tail.
In recent years, small populations of the bird have been eradicated from areas in Auckland. Although they are established in Australia and on some Pacific islands, they are not likely to have flown to New Zealand but it's possible they have stowed away on large ocean-going vessels.
Myrtle rust has been detected in pohutukawa trees on Raoul Island and MPI is working with the Department of Conservation and industry groups to manage its spread.
Myrtle rust is a fungal infection that can travel long distances in the wind and attacks plants of the myrtaceae family. It could affect iconic New Zealand plants like pohutukawa, kanuka, manuka and rata, as well as commercially-grown species such as eucalyptus, guava and feijoa.
Although myrtle rust has not been detected on mainland New Zealand, it’s important – and a timely reminder for growers – to look out for symptoms on their native myrtaceae trees. Look for:
• bright yellow powdery eruptions appearing on the underside of the leaf (young infection)
• bright yellow powdery eruptions on both sides of the leaf (mature infection)
• brown/grey rust pustules (older spores) can appear on older lesions
• leaves may become buckled or twisted and die off.
If you see any of these symptoms or anything else unusual report it to MPI on 0800 80 99 66.
A Myrtle rust fact sheet is also available on the MPI website.
We’re still in the high-risk period for BMSB, the kiwifruit industry’s second most unwanted biosecurity threat (after fruit flies) so please do continue to make use of the resources developed by KVH as part of the nationwide effort to keep this unwanted pest out.
Popular resources include a video on the KVH website from the USA, where the ever-expanding stink bug population is taking over lifestyles (it’s useful to share with staff, friends and family as everyone will be affected if it establishes here) and a simple guide to identification that you can read here on the KVH website.
The invasive South American plant, Pampas, is well-established in most regions where kiwifruit is grown. Pampas has now begun to flower and the seeds (more than 100,000 per flowerhead) will be dispersed by strong winds. Any Pampas growing in, or adjacent, to kiwifruit orchards can be a problem in that any seed attached to fruit is a reject factor, and may cause market access issues if found within a shipment or container.
If Pampas is established in your orchard or shelter belt, cut down and destroy the flowerheads now.
Pampas plants can be dug out or removed by a digger, or controlled with glyphosate herbicide. A surfactant/spreader needs to be added to the herbicide mixture. Do not attempt to spray Pampas in an orchard if fruit are still on vines.
Pampas (Cortaderia selloana or C. jubata) is different from the native toetoe (Cortaderia fulvida) in that Pampas grows faster and is an invasive plant; it flowers in autumn rather than spring; is more robust and upright; and produces a different shaped and larger flowerhead (cone-shaped rather than flag-like).
Contact John Mather at KVH at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like any further information.