31 March 2022, NZ: Biosecurity New Zealand has confirmed that a single fall armyworm egg mass has been found in Tauranga. Fall Armyworm is an invasive pest that has been spreading rapidly around the world in the past five years.
‘It would be a big blow to horticulture – in particular, process vegetable crops like sweetcorn – if fall armyworm was to establish itself in New Zealand,’ says Process Vegetables General Manager, Richard Palmer.
‘However, as the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has said, “The moth can be treated with several types of insecticides, many of which are already used in New Zealand for other kinds of pests”.
‘MPI’s risk analysis last year also found it would struggle to establish in New Zealand as areas with preferred host crops do not have a suitable climate for fall armyworm, as it’s a tropical species, thriving in warmer climates.
‘The New Zealand horticulture industry is part of the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) on biosecurity. This involvement will ensure that horticulture’s interests are represented in decisions to do with any response to fall armyworm that may be necessary.’