28 June 2012
The Environmental Protection Authority has approved the release from containment of a parasitoid wasp, Mastrus ridens, as a biological control agent for the codling moth, Cydia pomonella.
Mastrus ridens is a small wasp-like insect which is attracted to and kills the late larval life-stage of codling moth. Codling moth is one of the most serious pests of apples grown for both domestic and export consumption.
Pipfruit New Zealand applied for the release to improve the effectiveness of integrated pest management of codling moth in New Zealand. Its goal is to establish permanent populations of Mastus ridens to provide long-term biological control of codling moth in commercial orchards and home-garden and abandoned apple trees.
In making its decision, the EPA’s Decision-Making Committee was required to consider how the release of Mastrus ridens would impact on New Zealand’s natural environment as well as human health, the economy and Maori.
The Committee agreed that the positive effects of releasing Mastrus ridens outweighed the adverse effects, and noted that the release would allow a new tool to be added to Integrated Pest Management systems in New Zealand.
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