The guava moth is a native of Australia. It was first found in Kaitaia in 1997. It lays its eggs at the ends of fruit and the caterpillar (larva) hatches out and burrows into the fruit. The larvae feed within the ripening fruit producing frass (excrement) and encouraging the growth of fungus.
The moth is small, black and white, speckled and about one centimetre long. It is difficult to distinguish from other New Zealand moths of the same family.
The larvae are pink and up to 8 mm long and feed in the ripening fruit. Though in loquats, peaches and macadamia nuts, it bores into the kernal/nut.
When the fruit falls to the ground the fully-grown larva leaves the fruit to pupate in leaf litter and soil debris. It constructs a camouflaged cocoon out of loose bits of stick and leaves about 8 mm long. The adult moth emerges about 14 days later.
Guava moth infests fruit all year round. Its hosts include yellow guava and feijoa in autumn, citrus (lemon, mandarin, orange, grapefruit) throughout winter/spring, loquats in spring, plums and peaches, nashi pear in summer, and macadamia nuts from summer through early winter.
Where is it found?
North of, and including, Whangarei City, Mangatapere and Whangarei Heads.
What can I do?
Remove fallen and rotting fruit and associated leaf litter from beneath trees and bury or burn it. This will destroy pupating guava moths.
Recommended monitoring method
Pheromone traps and caps for guava moth and other moth species i.e. codling moth and leafroller, can be purchased from any horticultural supplies store. Male moths are attracted to the pheromone in the trap and become stuck on the sticky bases placed in the trap. Pheromone caps and sticky trap bases can be replenished every six weeks.
Find out more: Download pest insect control publications
For further information or control advice please contact one of our Biosecurity Officers at the Northland Regional Council on 0800 002 004