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22 March 2018

Each month we profile one of the 12 most unwanted pests featured on our ‘Port of Tauranga – committed to biosecurity excellence’ calendar. They could all potentially enter our borders and have a major impact on the local community and businesses, the kiwifruit industry or other local growers.

This month, the focus is on the Painted Apple Moth (PAM).

A voracious and indiscriminate eater, the PAM from South Australia is a threat to horticulture, forestry, and possibly indigenous trees. It attacks the fruit and leaves of multiple horticultural crops and although kiwifruit is not a reported host an incursion may still have implications. A previous incursion in Auckland (1999) had significant impacts until it was successfully declared as eradicated in 2006.

The economic analysis of its potential impact in New Zealand was determined to be up to $356 million. At least three quarters of these impacts would have been production losses and spraying costs in plantation forestry. About $65 million was spent on the successful eradication programme.

The male moth has a 2.5cm wingspan, a dark brown forewing marked with a black band, and an orange hindwing. The wingless female moth is about 1cm long and is covered with thick short brown hairs - she looks like a small, brown, hairy cocoon. The mature larva or caterpillar is about 3cm long and is covered with dense brown hairs.

Everyone can play a part in keeping unwanted pests and diseases out of New Zealand. If you come across anything unusual catch it, take a photo, and report it to the exotic pest and disease hotline on 0800 80 99 66.

Kiwifruit Vine Health

25 Miro St
Mount Maunganui
Tauranga 3116

Tel:  0800 665 825
Fax: 07 574 7591