Biosecurity Minister announces world- first eradication of pea weevil

A Government programme to wipe out pea weevil has achieved a world first, with Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor today announcing the successful eradication of the noxious pest from Wairarapa.

This has resulted in the nearly-four-year ban on pea plants and pea straw being lifted today.  Commercial and home gardeners can again grow pea plants and use pea straw as garden bedding material.

Mr O’Connor said there have been no new finds of pea weeviles for two seasons.  Biosecurity New Zealand therefore is confident no pea weevils remain in Wairarapa or New Zealand.
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Pea weevil programme is on track to eradicate the pest

The Ministry for Primary Industries and the pea-growing industry are on track to eradicate the pest insect pea weevil from New Zealand.

The pest was first discovered in the Wairarapa in 2016 and has been subject to an eradication programme since then.

“Our trapping programme found only 15 pea weevils from 2 neighbouring sites this season. That is significantly down on the 1,735 pea weevils which were found across 11 sites last season. MPI response manager Nicky Fitzgibbon said.

“It’s encouraging progress. We think that is largely due to the Controlled Area Notice currently in place which restricts the growing of peas in the Wairarapa up to Pahiatua. We intend to maintain these restrictions until we are confident that we can eradicate the pest from New Zealand”.

“We understand the restrictions have had an impact on the pea growing industry and wider Wairarapa community and MPI would like to recognise their efforts and support.”

Growers had shown a great deal of flexibility by finding alternate crops to plant while the ministry has been working to get rid of this pest, Ms Fitzgibbon said.

This support had been critical in the success of the programme so far.

A Controlled Area Notice issued by the ministry indicates where peas can’t be grown (all Wairarapa including Pahiatua) and restricts the movement of pea seed and pea straw within, and in and out of the area.

You can find more about pea weevils HERE.

Source: Ministry for Primary Industries