Unwelcome Invaders


Much has been made of a recent discovery of a Queensland Fruit Fly in two areas of Auckland in February and like many foreign species, if it were to get a hold in the country our horticultural and associated industries could suffer severe consequences.

Termites are another example. Also known as white ants, they can live in colonies that can number in the thousands. Invasive species could also pose a significant threat to New Zealand timbers and the economy.

New Zealand has a number of native termite species. They are generally non-invasive and are usually found in rotting wood such as tree stumps. There are though some nonnative invasive species such as the Australian Subterranean Termite and West Indian Drywood Termite that have been found in a few sites in New Zealand and efforts have been made to eradicate the infestations to prevent spread and potential damage to New Zealand homes and other timbers.

The Ministry for Primary Industries or MPI, is the government agency charged with protecting New Zealand from biological risks and has mounted biosecurity responses six times in the past 10 years - mostly in and around Auckland and the central North Island for Termites.

The most recent termite outbreak was in Omaha, in 2014, and one in Te Aroha but there was also one in Nelson, 100km south east of Takaka in Golden Bay, in 2009.

MPI said in all these cases the pests were eliminated, and it has cracked down on importing requirements of Australian hardwood poles and used railway sleepers which were blamed for the outbreaks recognising that the Australian subterranean termite was a significant pest, MPI said Australian termites can cause structural damage to houses, but infestations can be safely treated with insecticides.

So, what do you do if you suspect you could have a termite infestation? Its not always easy to tell. Winged ants can be mistaken for winged termites. Termites are usually hidden away inside wood and it is only the winged aletes during their mating nuptial flight that they are seen. One way to tell them apart is that termite wings are twice as long as the body whereby ants have distinct narrowing between thorax and abdomen.

Calling in an expert is also the best cause of action. Tony Walker, from Walker’s pest control has been in this business for over 30 years and is highly regarded around the country for being one of the top pest control experts.

Walker's Pest Control is a privately owned, South Auckland based company specialising in residential, commercial and farm pest control.

Walker's Pest Control will provide a thorough inspection of your property, discuss any procedures and products that they will use and give you notice of how long it will take to complete the job.

Most importantly, the team at Walker's Pest Control make a point of getting the job quickly and guarantee minimal disruption to your business or home.

He will also identify any pest that is notifiable back to MPI to put your mind at rest.