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Plans to weasel out weevil

By Emily Norman

[email protected]

Wairarapa pea weevil are to be lured into a trap and destroyed.

Before the end of the month, “trap” pea crops will be planted at 12 properties in the region, which were previously found to be infested with the pest.

Each crop will be closely monitored for the presence of weevil and all crops will be sprayed with insecticide and mulched before the crop reaches maturity.

MPI incident controller Fiona Bancroft said the crops would be planted in mid-late October by farmers and contractors “for the good of the industry at MPI’s cost”.

“If there are no other peas planted, the surviving adult weevils will fly to the trap crops, as they require flowering peas to complete their life cycle,” she said.

“Their larvae only eat developing peas in the pod, so without growing peas, the population will die out.”

Federated Farmers Wairarapa President Jamie Falloon said the flowering trap crops would work by “enticing the weevil out from any of its hiding places”.

“The idea is to attract the weevil in, and then nail them,” he said.

“Once they’re attracted to the pea flower or pollen, they then mate.

“Once they mate, the weevil larva needs the pea to turn into a pod to grow, but the crop is destroyed before that stage.”

Adult pea weevil emerge from hibernation in spring and fly in search of field pea flowers.

They feed on pollen and pea petals for a few days and then mate.

An average of 400 eggs are laid by the one weevil on the developing pea pods and the larva relies on the pea pod for its survival.

Mr Falloon said the plan was another way of helping destroy the pest.

“It all adds to the armoury to kill the weevil,” he said.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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