The detection of Dutch elm disease at the Auckland region-Waikato District boundary has triggered an insect trapping programme that will start this month.
Waikato District Council has commissioned specialist biosecurity contractors to carry out surveillance trapping for the Elm Bark Beetle that carries the disease.
Beetle traps will be placed along roadsides across the northern Waikato to determine the extent of the disease in the area.
About 70 traps, at 1.5km intervals, are due to be placed in an approximate east-west line from Waitakaruru to Port Waikato.
Auckland Council has been dealing with Dutch elm disease for a number of years.
This effort to stop the disease spreading further south is being done after Auckland Council’s trapping programme detected the disease on the Auckland-Waikato border, 10km north of this month's trapping area, this year.
Selected property owners are being informed that their fence-lines are ideal locations for the traps.
The traps will be placed on a fence post and remain active until May 2023. They will be checked on a weekly basis.
If beetles are found in the traps, the contractors will look for the potential source (infected trees) in the immediate area – which could be up to 3km around the source trap.
This response would involve collaboration with neighbouring property owners in the form of door-knocking and letter drops in that immediate area.
If an infected tree is found and is confirmed to have Dutch elm disease, property-owners will be notified and given an additional letter to inform them of the presence of the disease on their property.
Waikato District Council will liaise with these property owners about the removal of infected trees, which has to be done by biosecurity specialists.
Wilting foliage, dead or dying branches, and dead elm trees are all typical signs of Dutch elm disease.
If you suspect an elm tree in your area may be diseased, please call 0800 492 452.