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

 


Irish wasp may need help moving west

Irish wasp may need help moving west


Click for big version.

Increasing clover root weevil populations are being seen on the West Coast, but the AgResearch-introduced biocontrol is hot on its tail.

AgResearch entomologists Dr Scott Hardwick and Mark McNeill, based at the Lincoln Campus in Canterbury, have been tracking the spread of clover root weevil (CRW) in the South Island, so that they know if and where to release the Irish wasp, a very effective biocontrol agent for this serious pest of white clover.

Sampling last winter and early spring for the DairyNZ-funded biocontrol project has revealed that the weevil is now present through much of the northern parts of the West Coast. AgResearch is now asking southern West Coast farmers who suspect they may have the weevil to get in touch, so they can be sure the wasp keeps apace of the problem.

In 2006, AgResearch scientists, supported by DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ and AGMARDT, made a breakthrough in CRW control by releasing a potential biocontrol agent, a tiny parasitic wasp from Ireland.

The first trial releases were made in Waikato, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu, and within just 18 months the wasps’ performance had exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic scientists.

Dr Hardwick says they found potentially damaging populations of the weevil from Greymouth north through to Karamea but in spite of extensive sampling south of Greymouth, they only discovered a single infested site in Waitahi. 

“The good news is that clover root weevil has brought its own destruction with it. The Irish wasp has been confirmed at many localities including Little Wanganui, the outskirts of Westport, Cronadun, and Greymouth,” he says. 

“However, we’re concerned that the weevil may be getting a jump start on the wasp further south on the West Coast. In wetter areas, clover root weevil may not fly as readily as it does in summer dry areas such as Canterbury. 

“This both limits the dispersal power of the Irish wasp, as it needs to be carried into new areas as eggs inside parasitised weevils, and leads to isolated ‘hot spots’ of CRW, which are often started by CRW hitching a ride on vehicles,” says Dr Hardwick.  

“We’re now considering carrying out releases of the Irish wasp south of Greymouth when new populations of the weevil are found, rather than relying on it making its own way.”

West Coast farmers who suspect they may have CRW – it can be identified by the distinctive U-shaped notches on clover leaves made by the adults – should contact AgResearch.

This will help them confirm the need and locations for Irish wasp releases this year.

More information about the weevil and how to recognise it can be found on Pestweb.co.nz the recently re-launched directory of New Zealand’s most damaging pests and weeds.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Final Frontier: Rocket Lab And NASA Sign Commercial Space Launch Agreement

Rocket Lab has signed a Commercial Space Launch Act Agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The agreement enables Rocket Lab to use NASA resources - including personnel, facilities and equipment - for launch and reentry efforts. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Wheeler Downplays Scope For ‘Large’ Rates Fall

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler says some market commentators are predicting further declines in interest rates that would only make sense for an economy in recession, although some easing is likely to be needed to maintain New Zealand’s economic growth. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha Dam: Consent Conditions Could Mean Reduced Intensity

Legal advice sought by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council on the Ruataniwha Dam consent conditions has confirmed that farmers who sign up to take water from the dam could be required to reduce the intensity of their farming operation to meet the catchment’s strict nitrogen limit. More>>

Health And Safety: Bill Now Sees Rules Relaxed For Small Businesses

Health and safety law reform sparked by the Pike River coalmine disaster has been reported back from the industrial relations select committee with weakened requirements on small businesses to appoint health and safety representatives and committees. More>>

ALSO:

Bearing Fruit: Annual Fruit Exports Hit $2 Billion For First Time

The value of fruit exported rose 20 percent (up $330 million) for the June 2015 year when compared with the year ended June 2014. Both higher prices and a greater quantity of exports (up 9.0 percent) contributed to the overall rise. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news