Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


New insect to patrol apple orchards

Media Release

New insect to patrol apple orchards

Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. 1 November 2012...New Zealand pipfruit growers are enhancing their management options for one of the key pests for the pipfruit industry – the codling moth – with the release of a new biocontrol agent.

Plant & Food Research scientists, with support from Pipfruit New Zealand, have been investigating the potential for Mastrus ridens, a small parasitoid wasp, to control the codling moth, one of the major pests affecting the New Zealand pipfruit industry. Following EPA approval, field appraisal will take place over the next few years to measure the effectiveness of the wasp as a long term biological control agent. The first release in commercial orchards, of 1,000 individuals, has been/will be made in Hawke’s Bay today/this week.

“Codling moth is a major issue for the pipfruit industry, with control of the pest costing between $8 and $12 million each year,” says Mike Butcher, Technical Manager of Pipfruit New Zealand. “Whilst the presence of a single moth in a shipment can impact on market access for all New Zealand apple exports to codling moth sensitive markets, the industry is also focused on reducing the use of chemical pesticides. This ultimately means we must find new ways to control pests, and the introduction of the Mastrus wasp as a biological control agent is an important new component to our system that currently includes mating disruption, a codling moth specific virus and selective chemistry. This release is an important step in meeting quarantine requirements for our premium markets.”

The Mastrus female attacks the cocoons of codling moths, laying its eggs on the moth larvae. When the wasp larvae hatch, they feed on, and eventually kill, the codling moth larva. They then emerge as adult wasps to disperse and seek new codling moth larvae on which to lay their eggs.

“Biological control agents, such as parasitoid wasps, play an increasingly important role in controlling pests as chemical interventions are reduced,” says scientist John Charles from Plant & Food Research. “This species, which originated in Kazakhstan, has been established in other countries, particularly in the USA, for control of codling moth, and these initial releases in New Zealand will help us to determine how well they survive in our environment and control the pest.”

The Mastrus wasp was approved for release by the Environmental Protection Agency in June, and thousands have since been reared in captivity.

A video showing the female Mastrus wasp laying her eggs can be found at

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Land & Water Forum: Fourth Report On Water Management

The Land and Water Forum (LWF) today published its fourth report, outlining 60 new consensus recommendations for how New Zealand should improve its management of fresh water and calling on the Government to urgently adopt all of its recommendations from earlier reports. More>>



Welcome Home: Record High Migration Stokes 41-Year High Population Growth

New Zealand annual net migration hit a new high in October as more people arrived from than departed for Australia for the first time in more than 20 years. More>>


Citizens' Advice Bureau: Report Shows Desperate Housing Situation Throughout NZ

CAB's in-depth analysis of over 2000 client enquiries about emergency accommodation shows vulnerable families, pregnant women and children living in cars and garages, even after seeking assistance from the Ministry of Social Development and Housing New Zealand. More>>


Speaking For The Bees: Greens Call For Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban

The National Government should ban the use of controversial pesticides called neonicotinoids after evidence has revealed that even at low doses they cause harm to bee populations, the Green Party said today. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news