Home gardeners and commercial growers in the North Island are being reminded of the need to protect fruit crops from the guava moth pest.
The Australian insect is thought to have arrived in the country in the late 1990s and can be found in fruit and nut crops from Northland to Waikato.
Northland-based entomologist Dr Jenny Dymock says at this time of year, guava moth infest loquat crops, which builds up insect numbers leading into plum, peach and pear production in early summer and Christmas.
She says good orchard hygiene, such as raking up and removing fallen fruit, is one of the best ways of breaking the life cycle of the moth, which will move from rotting fruit into the ground to pupate.
Dr Dymock says some home gardeners can wrap the fruit with a fine weave mesh but that isn't a realistic option for commercial growers.