Gorse pod moth
Gorse Pod Moth. Biocontrol agent:
Gorse pod moth
What do gorse pod moths look like?
Adult moths are 5mm to 8mm long and pale brown. The eggs are flat, shiny, white, about 1mm in diameter and are laid on petals and parts of fertilized flower that cover the developing pod.
How do I find them?
The adults are most easily located on warm summer or autumn days and are characterized by their behaviour. They flit erratically around stands of gorse, landing every now and then on the plants.
The eggs are hard to spot, as they are hidden by the females on the petals and parts of the fertilized flower covering the developing pod. Pupae are light brown and found either inside the pod or in plant material or litter on the ground.
What about the life cycle?
Gorse pod moth. (c) Landcare Research.The eggs are laid in spring and the larva, which is creamy white with a black head, chews its way into the pod and feeds on the developing seeds - one caterpillar per pod. Pods eaten out by the larvae have a large exit hole. The larva has eaten the seed and moved on. Each caterpillar can consume the seeds of 2-3 pods.
New adults emerge from the pupae and lay eggs to coincide with the next second peak of flowering in autumn. Others emerge in the following spring and there are two generations per year.
Where are they established?
They are widespread throughout Northland
When and how can they be harvested for redistribution?
Harvest infested pods in spring and autumn by cutting branches when pods are leathery and green to light brown in colour. Relocate several hundred pods to new sites in spring and at least 1000 pods in autumn.