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Biosecurity News
18 March 2021
Fun Fact
18 March 2021
Australian biosecurity officers have helped prevent a significant es-cargo-t risk from sliding into the country, with several Giant African Snail (GAS) interceptions. Last year, there were 28 GAS...
Fun Fact
18 March 2021

Australian biosecurity officers have helped prevent a significant es-cargo-t risk from sliding into the country, with several Giant African Snail (GAS) interceptions.

Last year, there were 28 GAS interceptions across the ditch, found in a variety of imported cargo and at different locations across the country at the border. While we don’t have as many interceptions in New Zealand they are occasionally also found at our border and are a big risk.

If the GAS were to establish here, it would be a risk to over 500 different kinds of plants and most vegetables. It has also been known to make its way up the bark of large trees, especially citrus.

The main biosecurity risk lies in the introduction of the snail in New Zealand attached to plant material, crates, containers, machinery, or motor vehicles. It can hide out of general sight and eggs may be introduced in soil. Airport interceptions are also made as travellers (outside of COVID-19 restrictions) bring in the delicacy to satisfy expatriates with a meal from home!

Containers and cargo from high-risk GAS infested countries are inspected upon arrival at our ports, and the pest is one of the ‘most unwanted’ in the annual Tauranga port community calendar, showing what the pest looks like, how to identify it, and the harm it could do to primary industries and homes. Make sure to keep an eye out and report any potential finds.

Biosecurity News
18 March 2021
Waiting for picking: go out and zap those weeds
18 March 2021
Autumn is a good time to identify and remove harmful weeds remaining in orchard shelter belts, or any area adjacent to the orchard.  The flowerheads of the invasive South American pampas grass...
Waiting for picking: go out and zap those weeds
18 March 2021

Autumn is a good time to identify and remove harmful weeds remaining in orchard shelter belts, or any area adjacent to the orchard. 

The flowerheads of the invasive South American pampas grass have just emerged (not to be confused with the native toetoe which flowered in October).  Within another month or two, hundreds of fluffy seeds on each pampas flowerhead will be blown by the wind, ready to cling to Hayward fruit especially.  Any pampas seed on fruit is a serious and significant reject factor – it is very difficult for the rollers to remove these seeds in the pack-house. 

To remove pampas:

  • Cut pampas seed heads off and burn or bury them in a disposal pit.
  • Wear gloves and overalls as pampas leaves are very sharp. 
  • Carefully apply 2% glyphosate to the basal leaves of the pampas plant.  A small amount of surfactant/penetrant will help the herbicide move into the tough pampas leaves – 1ml per litre of mixed herbicide is effective. 
  • Apply herbicide carefully and under low pressure to avoid any possible off-target damage, ideally using a knapsack sprayer.

More information on identifying and controlling pampas is available here

Another weed to look out for is moth plant.  Spring is the best time to get rid of this vine from orchard shelter belts, however, if you have missed plants, they will likely have formed large seed pods by now.  Try to remove these as they will split open in the winter, spilling their wind-borne seeds which can be blown for kilometres. 

The pods can be hooked out of shelter trees by using an aluminium pole with a pruning saw clamped to the end.  Bury the seed pods in a disposal pit (the seed will not yet be viable).

More information about controlling moth plant, including the biocontrol agent moth beetle released by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, is available here. 

Biosecurity News
18 March 2021
Gardens an early warning tool for pests
18 March 2021
A new generation of bug hunters is being built through combining education outside the classroom with good old-fashioned gardening. KVH has been working with Your Garden: Children’s Therapy...
Gardens an early warning tool for pests
18 March 2021

A new generation of bug hunters is being built through combining education outside the classroom with good old-fashioned gardening.

KVH has been working with Your Garden: Children’s Therapy Garden (a Tauranga Moana organisation that provides primary school children with horticultural learning experiences to reduce anxiety and promote wellbeing) to integrate sentinel garden biosecurity ideas into their programme.

Two groups of students from local primary schools are currently going through the programme, where they spend a morning a week at the garden site choosing what to plant in their plots and taking them through to harvest. The excess harvest is taken by the children and coordinators to charity for distribution.

During KVH’s most recent visit last week, Karyn Lowry talked with students about Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB). The students were really interested to hear about this pest, and others that they can keep an eye out for in their garden.

Sentinel gardens are a Tauranga Moana Biosecurity Capital initiative managed by KVH and consist of a variety of host plants that might provide early warning of invasive insect species and pathogens. Mainly based in schools, students monitor gardens for any signs of the pests and diseases that we want to keep out of the Bay of Plenty. So, not only are the gardens hands-on and fun, but they’re also a great way to build biosecurity awareness and surveillance skills amongst the younger generation. Read more about them here.

Biosecurity News
18 March 2021
Kiwifruit Phytophthora survey
18 March 2021
KVH, Zespri and Plant & Food Research are currently working together on a survey of Phytophthora pathogens in kiwifruit orchards throughout New Zealand. This project will support New...
Kiwifruit Phytophthora survey
18 March 2021

KVH, Zespri and Plant & Food Research are currently working together on a survey of Phytophthora pathogens in kiwifruit orchards throughout New Zealand. This project will support New Zealand’s biosecurity by better understanding our current baseline of Phytophthora species associated with kiwifruit.

Sampling rounds will be completed in autumn and spring (2021/2022). The focus for this current autumn round will be sites from the Bay of Plenty and Waikato.

Growers who have vines with known or suspected Phytophthora symptoms and who would like to be involved in this survey can read more about the project here.

Biosecurity News
18 March 2021
Eye on the Psa Risk Model
18 March 2021
The Psa Risk Model currently predicts moderate Psa infection risk through next week for Kerikeri, Maungatapere, and Gisborne. This is a reminder that risk of Psa rises as we move into the autumn...
Eye on the Psa Risk Model
18 March 2021

The Psa Risk Model currently predicts moderate Psa infection risk through next week for Kerikeri, Maungatapere, and Gisborne.

This is a reminder that risk of Psa rises as we move into the autumn period, with weather conditions again suited to the development of infection via inoculum associated with previous infections, including leaf spots and cankers.

Growers with early harvest blocks should apply copper to protect fruit stalks and soft tissue within the canopy. Apply this alone if there is any risk of drift and then plan to follow up with an Actigard spray when neighbouring blocks have been harvested.

Be cautious in applying Actigard to vines that have been severely stressed by drought – it is not recommended for vines showing signs of stress such as wilting, premature leaf yellowing or leaf drop.

Be sure sprayers are well rinsed to avoid contamination of following tank mixes.

Young plants also benefit from protective coppers to avoid infection risk to late grown tissue, and especially for blocks with significant leaf spot as Psa can reactivate from the edges of these spots once conditions become cooler and wetter.

Biosecurity News
18 March 2021
Keep the reports coming
18 March 2021
We often get phone calls and emails from growers and members of the public who think they may have found an unusual disease symptom, or a pest from our most unwanted list. This is a good thing...
Keep the reports coming
18 March 2021

We often get phone calls and emails from growers and members of the public who think they may have found an unusual disease symptom, or a pest from our most unwanted list.

This is a good thing – it’s exactly the type of behaviour we want to see as it shows people are on the lookout and aware of not just biosecurity risk in general, but also of the look and size of the organisms that are considered the highest risk to the kiwifruit industry.

With a lot of people on orchards for harvest, we’re getting an increased number of reports and emails (thankfully, they’ve been of things that are either native and or established).

The message remains the same for growers, contractors, and anyone else on-orchard: stay vigilant, be on the lookout, and report anything unusual. Please take a photo (very rarely will we need to see the actual specimen) of what you find and report it through the quick and easy Find-A-Pest app, or feel free to email us so we can have a look at it for you.

Unusual symptoms reported and investigated by KVH are also available online. This information is provided to help growers identify similar symptoms they may be seeing on their own properties.

Don’t be afraid to report any suspect finds – the sooner you alert us the more we can do to help.

Biosecurity News
4 March 2021
Top tips for harvest hygiene
4 March 2021
Harvest season presents a high-risk period for spreading Psa or other biosecurity risks between blocks, orchards, and regions because of the numbers of vehicles, machinery and people movements...
Top tips for harvest hygiene
4 March 2021

Harvest season presents a high-risk period for spreading Psa or other biosecurity risks between blocks, orchards, and regions because of the numbers of vehicles, machinery and people movements involved.

Growers are responsible for protecting their orchards, and others, by ensuring the movement risk of harvest equipment, people, and bins onto and around their orchard is minimised.

Top tips for harvest hygiene preparation are:

  • make sure contractors and staff understand your hygiene requirements,
  • check all equipment (harvest bins, harvest machinery, picking bags etc) coming on to your orchard is free of plant and soil material,
  • ensure any harvest bins arriving on the orchard have been sanitised by the pack-house between orchards and are clear of any kiwifruit plant material and soil,
  • ensure people check that clothing (particularly headwear and footwear) is free of plant material and soil on entry and exit,
  • do not allow workers to bring imported fruit onto the orchard,
  • clear loadout areas of weeds before harvest,
  • clearly mark parking and hygiene control areas,
  • allow only essential vehicles into the production area,
  • limit access to only established roads and tracks.


With extra people through orchards more pairs of eyes can be on the lookout for unusual vine symptoms or pests. Growers should communicate their requirements (as per their orchard biosecurity plan and guidelines booklet) to all coming onto their orchards. 

Biosecurity News
4 March 2021
Advice for hosting or attending an orchard field day
4 March 2021
On-orchard field days and events are an opportunity to share valuable information; however, they can also lead to the spread of unwanted pests and diseases through the movement of people, machinery,...
Advice for hosting or attending an orchard field day
4 March 2021

On-orchard field days and events are an opportunity to share valuable information; however, they can also lead to the spread of unwanted pests and diseases through the movement of people, machinery, tools and goods.

KVH has produced a
best practice poster to help reduce biosecurity risk when hosting or visiting an orchard event and to explain the simple and easy steps people can take to protect kiwifruit orchards.

You can download the poster
here or email KVH if you would like us to print and send one to you. Please also feel free to share this with others who may be hosting any kind of event or guests on-orchard.

Biosecurity News
4 March 2021
We can learn from the M.bovis review
4 March 2021
KVH is pleased Government and industry have announced their commitment to finding out what more can be learnt from the biosecurity response to Mycoplasma bovis (M.bovis). The Ministry for Primary...
We can learn from the M.bovis review
4 March 2021

KVH is pleased Government and industry have announced their commitment to finding out what more can be learnt from the biosecurity response to Mycoplasma bovis (M.bovis).

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) announced it will conduct an independent review into the M.bovis response, which was first found in New Zealand in 2017 and is thought likely to have entered the country two years before that.

We see the review as a great opportunity to capture possible improvements so that New Zealand’s biosecurity system can be strengthened, and we can all be better prepared.

For the kiwifruit industry in particular, M.bovis has highlighted the importance of traceability - in our case this relates to plants and plant material - and being able to trace movements backwards and forwards over time so that sources of potential infection can be identified and managed as quickly as possible. This is a key element of the proposed new Pathway Management Plan.

The independent review is being fed into by affected industries and farmers, and KVH will closely follow the process and outcome.

Biosecurity News
4 March 2021
BMSB season by the numbers
4 March 2021
Since the start of the high-risk season for Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) in September 2020, activities to find and manage the risk of this unwanted pest have included: 93 visits by...
BMSB season by the numbers
4 March 2021

Since the start of the high-risk season for Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) in September 2020, activities to find and manage the risk of this unwanted pest have included:

  • 93 visits by detector dog teams to high-risk Auckland air freight facilities as part of ongoing surveillance. Biosecurity New Zealand officers have also gone to 104 sites in Christchurch,
  • 1700 container openings supervised by officers,
  • 60-plus vehicle ship surveys,
  • 300 consignments directed to remain onboard vessels until importers provided evidence of treatment/other management,
  • 2600-plus verification checks of uncontainerised consignments of new vehicles and machinery,
  • 4 detector dogs trained to sniff out BMSB,
  • 4 fines issued to transitional facilities for not following directions from officers relating to BMSB.

Every month, KVH produces a BMSB risk update which details what the kiwifruit industry is doing to keep BMSB out of our orchards and how we are preparing in case it does get here. The updates also include information from Biosecurity New Zealand about new bug finds. You can read the latest update here.

Biosecurity News
4 March 2021
Keep an eye out for spittlebugs in your orchard
4 March 2021
Xylella fastidiosa, a deadly bacterial pathogen, is having a devasting impact across horticultural industries in Europe and the USA. This disease can infect many different plants and while the full...
Keep an eye out for spittlebugs in your orchard
4 March 2021

Xylella fastidiosa, a deadly bacterial pathogen, is having a devasting impact across horticultural industries in Europe and the USA.

This disease can infect many different plants and while the full scale of potential damage to kiwifruit in New Zealand (if it got here) remains somewhat unknown, for many crops it will be devastating.

While kiwifruit is currently not considered a host, there is still much uncertainty, including whether we already have a vector in New Zealand capable of spreading this pathogen between kiwifruit orchards if it were to arrive.  KVH is taking a proactive approach and is engaged in readiness efforts so that we are playing our part to reduce the likelihood and potential impacts of an incursion in New Zealand. Read more about this work here.

How might Xylella fastidiosa spread? There are a number of potential vectors of Xylella around the world, but the only known vector already present in New Zealand are spittlebugs. We’re unsure of their presence in our orchards and one of the ways we are looking to understand this better is to ask growers to keep an eye out and let us know if they spot anything that looks like one. This will help build our knowledge and complement research being undertaken by Better Border Biosecurity (B3) into the distribution of this insect in New Zealand.

Spittlebug adults – on the left in the below image - are small and reach a body length of 5–7mm. They are usually yellow/brown to dark brown, with dark spots, stripes, or bands on their back.

Nymphs – on the right in the below image – are about 1-2mm and hard to see but are easier to identify because of their self-generated foam nests, which can be seen during spring.

If you see something that you think could be a spittlebug, we would like to know about it. Either use the Find-A-Pest reporting app on your phone to send through a report, or catch it (if you can), snap a picture of it, and report it us at KVH on 0800 665 825 or info@kvh.org.nz.

If you would like to know more about the work underway to better understand the potential impacts of an incursion to New Zealand, you can read a full review on our website here.

Adult spittlebug (left): image credit Even Dankowicz and nymph (right): image credit Helen Macky. 

Biosecurity News
4 March 2021
How do plant diseases impact plant health and food production?
4 March 2021
Bacterial plant diseases are diverse and cause many types of other diseases. Their transmission may be airborne, soil-borne or via invertebrate vectors. When introduced to new areas their spread is...
How do plant diseases impact plant health and food production?
4 March 2021

Bacterial plant diseases are diverse and cause many types of other diseases. Their transmission may be airborne, soil-borne or via invertebrate vectors. When introduced to new areas their spread is unpredictable, and often highly invasive. They are difficult to control with chemicals and, unlike many other plant pathogens, normally have many potential hosts.

A brand-new animation (produced by several UK agencies working together) briefly introduces nine high-quality projects that address bacterial threats - including one focused on Xylella fastidiosa - so that we can eventually overcome them enough to keep producing sufficient food and protect landscapes.

Watch the animation here (two minutes) and visit the Bacterial Plant Diseases UK website here to learn more about each of the projects.

As well as using local knowledge and research, KVH actively maintains relationships with international contacts like this UK group to share information and ensure potential risks to the New Zealand kiwifruit industry are identified and managed.

Kiwifruit Vine Health

25 Miro St
Mount Maunganui
Tauranga 3116

Tel:  0800 665 825
Fax: 07 574 7591

Email: info@kvh.org.nz