At the end of May, Biosecurity New Zealand (the Ministry for Primary Industries) found two small populations of tomato red spider mite (Tetranychus evansi) on nightshade weeds at two Auckland locations during routine surveillance. Industries potentially affected by this pest include tomatoes, capsicum, potatoes, and arable beet crops. It has a wide range of non-crop hosts.
The response partners (industry and MPI) have initiated a response. At this stage the response will consist of a delimiting survey to try and understand how far the mite has spread. A technical working group of mite specialists and entomologists has been assembled and they are developing recommendations on the survey design and timing, and will look at control tools.
There is some information available about the mite in a downloadable 'Exotic Pest Fact Sheet on Tomate Red Spider Mite' and the website will be updated as the response progresses.