Confirmed detections have been made Tauranga (eggs only) and in paddocks near Hamilton, in South Auckland, Waitara and Gisborne. MPI has extended the request for paddock checks to growers in the top-of-the South Island, but say the risk for South Island crops is lower.
Fall armyworm thrives in very warm climates and it is unlikely to survive winter in most areas of New Zealand. Information about this pest and what to look for can be found here. Biosecurity New Zealand has had people on the ground checking paddocks in areas where the pest has been found, and staff will be available for ongoing support as required.
What to do if you find fall armyworm
Photograph it: It can easily be mistaken for other species, so if you suspect fall armyworm, take a photo (caterpillars at least 2cm long).
Report it: Call Biosecurity New Zealand’s Pest and Disease Hotline (0800 80 99 66) or report online at report.mpi.govt.nz/pest. Alternatively, you can report via https://www.findapest.nz/ (download the app)
Manage it: Management options for crop regrowth/volunteers, include:
- Spray plants with any herbicide you have in the shed, follow by tilling to a minimum 10cm depth.
- Spot spray the volunteers with insecticide (ideally diamides or spinosyns/spinosoids), or;
- Hand pull the volunteer plants and securely dispose them if there are small numbers;
- Mow or intensively graze the field to remove the plant hosts/feed source and consider planting a different crop next season
If you have a whole field planted with maize or sweetcorn:
- Harvest for silage/balage and ensure the bulk host material is removed from the site and take steps to manage any volunteer crop coming through as per the above.