Hadda Beetle find in Auckland

1 February 2010

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand has identified the presence of Hadda beetles in Dove -Myer Robinson Park, along Tamaki Drive and the Auckland Domain in Auckland.

The Hadda beetle was discovered and reported by an entomologist who has a close association with MAF Biosecurity New Zealand.

David Yard, MAF Biosecurity New Zealand Response Manager, says the beetle causes distinctive damage to foliage.

“The species are found throughout Asia and the Pacific region and are foliage feeders that feed on solanaceous crops including potatoes, tomatoes, and aubergines.

“The leaf surface is scraped away leaving irregular windows or parallel strips. This feeding damage gives leaves a distinctive “lace-like” appearance which is quite visible. Both adults and larvae feed on the host plants.”

Contractors have carried out a controlled spray programme at Dove-Myer Robinson Park and the Auckland Domain where they have hand sprayed individual plants on which the beetle has been feeding with a commonly used insecticide.

“The spray contains a blue marker dye which shows which plants have been sprayed - the withholding period around the sprayed plants is three hours and signage and cordons were put up to warn the public of the spray activity”, says Mr Yard

“A surveillance programme is also planned to determine the extent of the infestation. While there are no human health concerns, the public are encouraged not to enter these areas until the signage and cordons are removed. “

Although similar to the common lady bird, Hadda beetles have some distinctive differences. Hadda beetle larvae are about 7 mm long, and pale yellow in colour with black spiny hairs. The adults are 7 – 10 mm in size and yellow/ orange coloured with around 26 black spots on their backs.

For further information contact:

  • Annie Wright, Senior Communications Adviser, MAF Biosecurity New Zealand, 04 894 0654, 029 894 0654