Pests

blackbeetle_newBLACK BEETLE

Black beetle was first recorded in New Zealand in 1937. It has become established in the northern half of the North Island, and spread down the east coast into Hawkes Bay and down the west coast as far as Taranaki. It tends to favour sandy, peaty or free draining loam country. Adult beetles are 15mm long reddish-brown/chestnut in colour and they change to a shiny black as they mature. Adults feed on the base of grass tillers causing damage to seedlings, while larvae eat the roots of grasses in the summer causing the pasture to become loose and open.Severe infestations of larvae can cause pasture to brown off and subsequently it can be rolled back like a mat. Black beetle outbreaks are associated with higher than average spring and summer temperatures. AR37 endophyte controls black beetle adults.


stemweevil_newARGENTINE STEM WEEVIL

Argentine stem weevil has been causing pasture damage throughout New Zealand since 1927. Their damage alone is estimated to annually cost New Zealand $250 million in lost production. Adult weevils are 3mm long, light grey to dark brown (excellent camouflage), with a hard body. They tend to lurk in litter on the soil surface during the day and come out at night to feed on leaf blades leaving rectangular “windowing” near the tip. They are prolific breeders producing two to three generations a year. Adults lay their eggs in the stems of grass tillers. Larvae kill plants by burrowing into tillers and eating out the central part and often leave small circular exit holes near the base causing plants to yellow, then brown off and ultimately die. Keep an eye out from mid October to mid April for activity of this nature. AR37 endophyte controls Argentine stem weevil larvae.

rootaphid_newROOT APHID

Root aphid is found throughout New Zealand, but until recently has been paid very little attention in relation to pasture damage. Originating in the Mediterranean region, Root aphid feeds on the ryegrass roots sucking sap from the grass and producing a white waxy mouldy looking substance. Signs of infestation will be plant stunting and yellowing as a result of root damage. In periods of moisture stress roots may become limp and rubbery. As roots are destroyed from feeding, the aphids will move onto undestroyed roots. Combined with other stresses, root aphids can cause plant death. AR37 endophyte controls Root aphid.


mealybug_newPASTURE MEALY BUG

Pasture mealy bug presence has been identified in several New Zealand regions including Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu, Marlborough and Canterbury. Adult pasture mealy bug are small, pink, oval shaped insects up to 2mm long with no definite head or legs. They are often found in the crown of the plant surrounded in tufts of white waxy secretions to protect themselves; this is obvious in autumn especially when it is dry. Pasture mealy bug suck the sap from grass roots and heavy infestation can cause death of plants in a paddock. AR37 endophyte controls pasture mealy bug.

porina_newPORINA

Porina are a major pasture pest in the central and southern North Island and throughout the South Island. Adult moths are light to dark brown with a hairy body. They are short lived, flying between spring and autumn with female moths releasing eggs (1000-2000) as they fly. Adults do not cause pasture damage. They are strongly attracted to light. Caterpillars can hatch from the eggs as fast as  3-5 weeks after laying. The grey-green caterpillars initially live on the soil surface then after about six week’s tunnel underground. They live in their tunnels emerging at night to feed eating off foliage at ground level. After eight or nine months they reach their full size of up to 70mm in length. AR37 endophyte has been shown to control porina. Porina may still be present in pasture with AR37 by feeding on other pasture species.

 

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