NQ growers alarmed by detection of new pest

Mango Shoot Looper detected in NQ

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Mango Shoot Looper.

Mango Shoot Looper.

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Mareeba horticulture growers are on high alert following the detection of an exotic moth that severely damages tree canopies.

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Horticulture growers in the Mareeba district are on high alert following the recent detection of an exotic moth, never before seen in Australia.

The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries recently alerted industry and growers to the detection of the Mango Shoot Looper, (Perixera cf. illepidaria), which has been found in Mareeba, Mutchilba and Biboora.

The Mango Shoot Looper is a species of moth native to several parts of Asia.

Heavy infestations can cause leaf defoliation, resulting in reduced photosynthesis.

Their larvae feed voraciously on mango tree leaves, leaving only the midribs and veins, and are also known to feed on tender shoots, flowers and immature fruit, severely damaging tree canopies.

FNQ Growers president Joe Moro said DAF was carrying out surveillance activities to assist response strategies and advice, with the hope of arming growers to protect their livelihoods.

"We are home to the largest mango growing region in Queensland and one of the largest in the Australian industry," Mr Moro said. "Our industry is worth more than $55 million and makes a considerable contribution to the region.

"Our harvest is just around the corner, so naturally growers are wanting information about what chemicals they are permitted to use to control the moth, and what happens to the moth after crop flowering is finished.

"As with any new pest incursion, particularly in this case where it's never been found in Australia before, it will take some time to gather the relevant information and disseminate to growers."

Mr Moro urged the department to try to work as quickly as possible to limit any potential impact to the industry.

"FNQ Growers appreciates the efforts DAF's biosecurity staff are undertaking to fully assess the threat of the pest and trusts further information will be forthcoming as soon as possible," he said.

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