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Fall Armyworm update

Fall Armyworm update

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15 Sep 22 Biosecurity News

Fall Armyworm update

Response efforts against the invasive Fall Armyworm (FAW) are continuing.

Kiwifruit is not known to be a host of this pest and therefore KVH, on behalf of the kiwifruit industry, continues to be an observer to activities in response to these detections, rather than a GIA partner who shares decision-making and costs.

There have now been isolated detections of this pest on 25 properties in total, across six regions – a single egg mass in Tauranga and larvae in paddocks in the Waikato, Auckland, Taranaki, Gisborne, and Northland. There are also two locations of interest.

Most of the finds were over the summer and autumn period, as FAW thrives in very warm climates.

As we enter spring, with temperatures on the rise again, we encourage everyone to continue to look for signs of FAW, particularly on maize and corn plants. Information about this pest and what to look for can be found here.

It can easily be mistaken for other species so if you suspect FAW, take a photo (caterpillars at least 2cm long) and call Biosecurity New Zealand’s hotline (0800 80 99 66) or make an online report. Alternatively, you can also make a report via the Find-A-Pest app.

If you do make a suspected report, please also contact your crop manager or industry body for specific advice on the best management options for your crops. A FAW quick growers guide is available here. The guide provides further information on prevention, intervention, and management options.

Although FAW is not a known threat to kiwifruit, it is important that farmers and growers report any signs of the pest on any crops to help build a good picture of exactly where it is and help with the development of long-term management guidance.

In addition, there is also surveillance activity underway with Better Border Biosecurity (B3) researching to better understand the survival, distribution, and potential impacts of this moth pest in New Zealand. Over 200 FAW pheromone traps will be distributed around the country to support the B3 research work.

To further support this research, farmers and growers are asked to keep a look out for FAW in properties over the spring and summer months (October to end of March 2023) and provide feedback – even if the pest is not detected. This includes growers who have deployed their own FAW pheromone traps, are undertaking crop scouting, or just making regular checks of their crops. Read more about this here.


KVH investigates reports of unusual symptoms to identify and manage any biosecurity risks.

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