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Wasp infested weevils rooting for clover

Wasp infested weevils rooting for clover

Eager farmers fired up leaf suckers on a Mataura dairy farm this week for Southlands’ first harvest of clover root weevils infested with a biocontrol agent.

Around 20 farmers turned up for the field day organised by New Zealand Landcare Trust and Environment Southland, to catch weevils using a leaf sucker with fine mesh cloth fixed to the tube.

The weevils, infested with parasitic wasps, were first released at Gore District Councillor Cliff Bolger’s property in 2010. He said the decision to have the 2500 wasp infested weevils released onto his farm was an easy one.

“It’s been a great initiative by Environment Southland to support this programme. It appears to have been successful and I hope today everyone gets enough weevils,” he said.

Senior Biosecurity Officer Randall Milne said monitoring has shown that 70-80% of the clover root weevil population in the paddock were infected with the wasp, high enough for landowners to come along and help establish the wasp at more sites around the region.

Weevils harvested from Clr Bolger’s property have been handed out at the Southern Field Days, with demand running hot. One hundred small containers, each with around 10 infested weevils, were given to farmers on the first day of the field days.

Janet Gregory from the New Zealand Landcare Trust said two more weevil-harvesting days are scheduled this summer, if both the weather and the wasp co-operate.

ENDS

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