Linda Hall: Marauding moths force feijoa fight

By Linda Hall -
1 comment
Our feijoas are under threat.
Our feijoas are under threat.

Oh dearie me - it looks like our beloved feijoas are under threat.

Autumn would just not be the same without our backyard covered in the delicious fruit.

We have two large trees at the back of our section that not only produce enough fruit every year to feed an army (well, almost) but provide privacy as well.

I have lost count of the number of bags full of feijoas I have given away this year.

It's funny, really, at the beginning of the season I'm out there under the trees scrounging around to see if fruit has fallen. A week later I can't keep up with them.

However, it appears that guava moth, which has been in New Zealand for the past 20 years, has increased in numbers and is infesting trees, particularly in northern warmer climates.

I was watching the Breakfast Show last week and Billy Aiken, of Kings Plant Barn, said the problem was "certainly a lot bigger now than it was a year ago".

The moths lay eggs on new fruit, then the larvae make their way inside, wrecking the flesh and leaving "pretty disgusting mealy substance".

He said there were ways to help control the pest and suggested it would be best to do it on a community level rather than people trying to tackle it individually.

He suggests if you have an infestation to make sure you pick up all fallen fruit on the ground - don't let it rot. And to buy and set light-based or pheromone-based traps to see if the moths are in your area.

I haven't heard of any cases in our region. It would be terrible to lose this fruit in Hawke's Bay. What would the children sell at their gates in autumn?

So bearing in mind that prevention is better than cure, I'll be buying a trap just to make sure these moths are not in my backyard.

Our fruit were beautiful this year, even if the majority of the crop came down in Cyclone Cook.

Speaking of the cyclone, I can't believe that some people have taken to social media complaining about how long the Napier City Council and the Hastings District Council are taking to clean up the debris from the April 13 event.

Do they actually know how much damage was caused?

I think the councils deserve nothing but praise. Their workload at the moment must be enormous.

Not only do they have to keep up their everyday routines but they have to find the time to clear up fallen trees and untold branches throughout the region. In Frimley Park, alone, eight trees came down.

On Easter Sunday I walked past the back entrance to Bill Mathewson Park where a council worker was busily picking up fallen branches. She was there again the next day, so I stopped to chat.

She said she only had a little truck and was working alone clearing the area because the debris there wasn't too hard for one person to handle.

The worker had sweat on her brow but a smile on her face.

She said she had been rostered on that weekend anyway but I imagine lots of people would have been called in from their days off to help with the clean-up.

Maybe the people complaining about how long it is taking don't understand the scale of the damage done by the cyclone.

If the do, perhaps they would like to pick up a rake or better still put their hand up to volunteer their time and efforts so that the process is completed more quickly.

* Linda Hall is assistant editor of Hawke's Bay Today.

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