Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


David and Goliath battle for weed control


David and Goliath battle for weed control

A battle of David and Goliath proportions between tiny insects and giant weeds could provide a solution to a growing weed problem threatening New Zealand’s wetlands and waterways.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is calling for submissions on an application to release two insects as biological control agents for the weed giant reed.

Northland Regional Council has applied to introduce the arundo wasp and the arundo scale insect to work together to control the weed giant reed (Arundo donax).

The giant reed is a leafy, woody bamboo-like grass that grows up to 5 metres high and has plumes of feathery flowers in summer. It forms in dense clumps and grows well near river and stream margins and can threaten wetlands, block waterways and cause flooding. It can also be a habitat for rats and possums. The reed is mainly a problem in the north of the North Island, but isolated infestations can be found as far south as Queenstown.

“Natural enemies of a plant – or biological control agents – can be used to reduce weed populations, such as the giant reed. We’re calling for submissions on introducing a wasp and scale insect as biocontrol agents, so the EPA can consider all views about potential risks and benefits of introducing them,” said Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter, General Manager Hazardous Substances and New Organisms.

“The wasps lay their eggs into the stems of the giant reed, which causes a growth or gall that stunts, and sometimes kills the stem. The scale insects suck nutrients from the stem, reducing the growth rate of the giant reed,” Dr Thomson-Carter said.

The reed is thought to be native to Eurasia and, although once valued as an ornamental plant, it’s now an environmental weed in a number of countries. The wasp and scale biocontrol agents have been released successfully in the USA and Mexico, where they’re beginning to reduce the vigour of the giant reed.

The application, from Northland Regional Council on behalf of the National Biocontrol Collective, was made under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996.

Submissions are invited on the application, with the submission period opening on 21 September and closing at 5pm on 3 November 2016. A public hearing may be held before a decision is made.
View application details and information
Read more about the submission and hearing process
What we do: The EPA decides on applications for the release of new organisms under the HSNO Act. We assess the benefits, risks and costs of releasing new organisms to safeguard people and the environment.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Sending An Orion P-3 To Tonga

Because the undersea volcanic eruption in Tonga cut communications with the more remote parts of the country, it wasn’t at all surprising that as a good Pacific neighbour, New Zealand sent a reconnaissance aircraft up there to gather information about the extent and location of the damage. The more interesting thing was which plane we sent. It was an old P-3K Orion. It wasn’t one of the four fancy P-8 Poseidons that the New Zealand taxpayer spent north of $3 billion to purchase and to equip, only a few years ago...


Government: New Zealand Prepared To Send Support To Tonga

New Zealand is ready to assist Tonga in its recovery from Saturday night’s undersea eruption and tsunami, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today... More>>

Ministry of Health: COVID-19 Immunisation Starts For 5 To 11-year-old Tāmariki

More than 120,000 doses of the child (paediatric) Pfizer vaccine have been delivered to over 500 vaccination sites around New Zealand as health providers prepare to start immunising 5 to 11-year-olds tamariki from today, 17 January... More>>

Crown: Duke Of York’s NZ Military Patronage Appointment Ends
Buckingham Palace has recently announced that, with the Queen's approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to the Queen... More>>

CTU: Too Many Kiwi Workers Financially Vulnerable As Omicron Looms
With New Zealand on the precipice of an Omicron outbreak and the economic upheaval that comes with it, the CTU’s annual Mood of the Workforce Survey shows the vast majority of kiwi workers do not have the financial resources to survive a period of unemployment... More>>

Financial Advice NZ: Law Changes Locking Out Home Seekers, Urgent Meeting Sought With Government

Recent changes in consumer finance law on top of Government policy changes are locking many home seekers out of finance options they would have qualified for just six weeks ago, says Financial Advice New Zealand... More>>

Energy: Powering NZ’s Future With Biofuels
The Government will introduce a Sustainable Biofuels Mandate to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said today... More>>




InfoPages News Channels