Abstract 1 The autumn gum moth Mnesampela privata (Guenée) (Lepidoptera: Geometridae, Ennominae) is a native moth that can outbreak, resulting in significant defoliation of plantation eucalypts in southern Australia.
2 Laboratory trials tested M. privata larvae for their dose–response to the ecdysone agonist, Mimic® 700 WP (a.i. 700 g/kg tebufenozide); ground and aerial field trials also tested its efficacy in eucalypt plantations.
3 The laboratory trials showed that there was no significant difference in mortality between larvae treated with 172 g Mimic® (120 g a.i)/ha and those sprayed with doses ranging from 86 to 3340 g Mimic®/ha.
4 Laboratory and field trials demonstrated that second instars were the most susceptible, with the most rapid response. However, second to fourth instars all reached 100% and fifth instars 90% mortality 3 weeks after aerial spraying at 120 g a.i./ha.
5 Aerial spraying an Eucalyptus globulus plantation with 120 g a.i. Mimic® at 20 L/ha caused 95% mortality of instars two to five, and 100% for instars two to four within 3 weeks after spraying.
6 Ground spraying to run-off with 120 g a.i. Mimic®/ha reduced defoliation of E. grandis from between 67% to 80% for unsprayed trees to 0% defoliation for sprayed trees.
7 The window for effective management of M. privata larvae is 3–5 weeks, during first to third instar development.
8 Replacement of broad-spectrum insecticides with the more target-specific Mimic® should increase the biodiversity of plantations and therefore would be more environmentally friendly.