Help dig out new wood-boring beetle

04 April 2019

The public is being asked to report any sign of the granulate ambrosia beetle.

This unwanted pest has been detected in five Auckland areas since 20 February 2019. It is the first time the beetle - regarded as a serious pest overseas - has been found here. Evidence to date suggests it may have been in the country for at least two years.

Kiwifruit is not known to be a host, but it does feed on a wide range of broadleaf trees and can spread fungal diseases.

Biosecurity New Zealand is currently assessing the potential risk from the beetle and is asking the public to report any possible sightings so that more can be learnt about whether New Zealand has a wider population.

The beetle resides under bark, making it difficult to detect. A tell-tale sign is distinctive protrusions of frass (compacted sawdust) from bark that look like toothpicks. They are caused by the beetles pushing frass out of tunnels bored into the trees. Other symptoms include sap oozing from the tunnel entrances and branch dieback.

Biosecurity New Zealand and local authorities are working together to identify the extent of the spread, inspect known host trees, and place lured traps around the detection sites in Auckland. Industry groups are also learning more from offshore researchers about risk, containment, and long-term management options.

KVH is closely following the response and will update growers of any developments that indicate the kiwifruit industry could be impacted by the beetle or pathogens it could spread.

If you think you may have seen the granulate ambrosia beetle or any sign of frass on trees, take a photo and call Biosecurity New Zealand's exotic pests and diseases hotline on 0800 80 99 66. Read more about the beetle and view the new fact sheet, including images, on the Biosecurity New Zealand website.