Whangaparoa free from exotic Southern Saltmarsh Mosquito

Wednesday 6 June 2007, 4:03PM

By Mediacom



Eradication of the Southern Saltmarsh Mosquito (SSM) Aedes camptoryhnchus from the saltmarsh habitat found at Shakespear Park on the Whangaparoa peninsula has been completed.

The mosquito was first found at the regional park in January 2004 during routine surveillance activity by staff from the Auckland Regional Public Health Service. The incursion response and subsequent eradication activities were undertaken by SMS New Zealand BioSecure, firstly under contract to the Ministry of Health, and from July 2006, to MAF Biosecurity New Zealand.

Biosecurity New Zealand response manager David Yard said the campaign saw a 20-hectare site treated every three weeks by targeted aerial application of S-methoprene granules.

“Treatments were completed in April 2006, but extensive surveillance since then was required to prove eradication had been successful. No Southern Saltmarsh Mosquitoes have been detected at Whangaparoa since May 2005, meaning two breeding seasons have passed without any detections, so eradication criteria have been met.

SMS NZ BioSecure Operations Manager, Bryn Gradwell said the cooperation of a number of agencies was an integral part of the success.

“With this one we’ve had great assistance from the Auckland Regional Council, the Rodney District Council, the Whangapararoa Residents and Ratepayers Association and members of the public.”

Southern Saltmarsh Mosquito eradication operations continue in the southern Kaipara harbour the Coromandel and Wairau near Blenheim, with SMS New Zealand Biosecure still working under contract to MAF Biosecurity New Zealand. All programmes remain on target for eradication by May 2009, Mr Yard said.

“That said, while there is a national exotic mosquito surveillance programme, the public are the best means of knowing where problem mosquitoes might be, and the public are encouraged to report nuisance biting mosquitoes to the Ministry of Health’s hotline – 0800 MOZZIE,” Mr Yard said.