Painted Apple Moth

Teia anartoides

Painted Apple Moth

Painted Apple Moth

Legal Status: Notifiable Organism
Status in New Zealand: Eradicated
Organism: Insects, worms and other land invertebrates

This pest has been eradicated in New Zealand

It is an unwanted organism under the Biosecurity Act 1993

If you suspect you have found this pest in New Zealand call 0800 80 99 66 immediately.


There are five distinct lifecycle stages for the Painted Apple Moth.

It is most distinctive when it is in its caterpillar stage as it is brightly coloured and hairy.

The Gum Leaf Skeletoniser is well established in the Auckland area and is often mistaken for the Painted Apple Moth. Older GLS caterpillars are distinctive by a 'hat' like formation on their head.

Painted Apple MothGum Leaf Skeletoniser
Painted Apple Moth Gum Leaf Skeletoniser


This pest poses a serious threat to New Zealand gardens, crops, forests, native bush and the communities that depend on them.

Painted Apple Moth: Reassessment of  potential economic impacts Link to PDF document (254 KB)
Potential economic impact on New Zealand of the Painted Apple Moth Link to PDF document (68 KB)

In New Zealand Painted Apple Moth has been found to feed on a wide range of trees.

Painted Apple Moth Host List

Some people may also be allergic to the hairs on the caterpillars.


The Painted Apple Moth is native to Australia and was first found in May 1999 in Glendene, Auckland, then was discovered to be in neighbouring suburbs.

  • Map of reduced eradication zone - small [JPG 85k ]
  • Map of reduced eradication zone - large [JPG 147k ]

The Painted Apple Moth was eradicated from Western Auckland in March 2006 after an extensive programme.

During routine surveillance male moths have been trapped in the Auckland area. These finds have been individual moths that have come from Australia.


Biosecurity New Zealand continues to survey high risk areas for painted apple moth to ensure that any new individuals or populations are quickly discovered.

A number of options are available to control the painted apple moth when populations are small, therefore any suspected findings should be immediately reported to 0800 80 99 66.

The eradication programme in New Zealand used a biological insecticide based on Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (Btk).

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Useful Resources

Page last updated: 22 December 2008