Asian Gypsy Moth – keep­ing out the in­vader from Asia

The Orchardist - - >>Our Most - By Leanne Stew­art

Asian Gypsy Moth ( Ly­man­tria dis­par asi­at­ica and L. d. japon­ica – AGM) is a high-risk hitch­hiker pest that’s threat­ened New Zealand’s bor­ders for many years.

Sim­i­lar to other Lepi­doptera pests, the char­ac­ter­is­tics of AGM’s life­cy­cle make it a suc­cess­ful in­vader. Like other hitch­hik­ers its eggs are laid on any shel­tered struc­tures such as used cars, WHAT CROPS DOES IT AT­TACK? ship­ping con­tain­ers and ves­sels, in clus­ters of 200-1200 eggs AGM is con­sid­ered a se­ri­ous threat to NZ forestry and the size of pin­heads. hor­ti­cul­ture, with lar­vae known to feed on over 500

species of trees, shrubs and hor­ti­cul­ture plants. In ad­di­tion When eggs hatch a ‘bal­loon­ing’ of newly hatched lar­vae may

to forestry trees, other com­mer­cial plant com­modi­ties be ob­served, be­ing carried on the wind on silken threads

in­clude ap­ple, apri­cot, blue­ber­ries, cherry, ch­est­nut, hazel­nut, up to dis­tances of 50 metres or more. Lar­val stages vary in

ki­wifruit, ly­chee, plum, rose and wal­nut. colour, with newly hatched lar­vae black and older lar­vae with five pairs of raised blue spots and six pairs of raised brick-red DIS­TRI­BU­TION AND SPREAD spots along their backs. Adult male moths are grey-brown with AGM is in­dige­nous to China and Rus­sia and has be­come a wing­span of three or four cen­time­tres, while fe­males are es­tab­lished in Korea, Ja­pan and Ger­many. Its spread has been nearly all white with wavy black bands across the wing and a fa­cil­i­tated through move­ment of inan­i­mate ob­jects fol­low­ing wing­span of about 9cm. ship­ping routes world­wide, with es­tab­lish­ment in parts of

Europe, North Africa and through­out states and dis­tricts WHY IS IT A PROB­LEM? in North Amer­ica where erad­i­ca­tion ef­forts con­tinue to AGM is con­sid­ered a sig­nif­i­cant pest to both forestry and pre­vent per­ma­nent es­tab­lish­ment. hor­ti­cul­ture with an abil­ity to spread quickly once it ar­rives due to ap­pro­pri­ate cli­matic con­di­tions in NZ. AGM eggs have Should it en­ter NZ AGM would likely es­tab­lish with­out a been fre­quently found dur­ing bor­der in­spec­tions of used con­cen­trated erad­i­ca­tion ef­fort, due to dis­per­sal ca­pa­bil­ity ve­hi­cles, as far back as the 1990s. and an ap­pro­pri­ate cli­mate. AGM males are long range flyers

cov­er­ing up to 100km a day and fe­males 20km, while early It’s the lar­val (cater­pil­lar) stage that causes dam­age, with feed­ing life stages are able to travel on the wind. caus­ing di­rect dam­age to fo­liage, in ad­di­tion to weak­en­ing of plants mak­ing them sus­cep­ti­ble to dis­ease or other pests. In RISK TO NZ recog­ni­tion of AGM’s po­ten­tial im­pact, the Min­istry for Pri­mary AGM is a proven in­vader and one of the most feared pests In­dus­tries (MPI) and its pre­de­ces­sors have been op­er­at­ing an by tem­per­ate coun­tries such as NZ. AGM is reg­u­larly on­go­ing tar­geted surveillance pro­gramme since 1992. in­ter­cepted at the NZ bor­der on inan­i­mate ob­jects such

as ship­ping con­tain­ers, used cars and con­tainer ships. An This pro­gramme uses a net­work of over 1500 pheromone

in­cur­sion, or any change to NZ’s pest sta­tus for AGM traps placed across the coun­try to cover likely points of en­try.

free­dom, could re­sult in sig­nif­i­cant mar­ket ac­cess re­stric­tions There has only been one post-bor­der de­tec­tion of AGM in NZ

to hor­ti­cul­ture ex­port sec­tors. in Hamil­ton in 2003.This find re­sulted in a large-scale re­sponse with in­ten­sive pheromone trap­ping and aerial spray­ing. It WHAT TO DO IF YOU SEE IT wasn’t un­til two years later that the pest was fi­nally de­clared If you think you’ve seen Asian Gypsy Moth, call the MPI pest erad­i­cated. and dis­ease hot­line on 0800 80 99 66.

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