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Expert Reactions

Bee disease and novel virus in invading ants – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on September 9th, 2015.

Invasive Argentine ants carry a virus linked to colony collapse in bees as well another insect virus new to science, according to a first-of-its-kind New Zealand study. The new research, published today in Biology Letters, hunted for evidence of insect viruses in Argentine ant populations from New Zealand, Australia and Argentina. One of the key […]

Fruit fly incursion – experts respond

John Kerr posted in on February 24th, 2015.

Containment at early stages is critical, say experts commenting on the detection of Queensland fruit flies in Auckland. The flies, which pose a threat to export fruit and vegetable markets, were first detected in a surveillance trap last week. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has put in place a restriction zone, limiting the movement […]

Fruit fly find prompts Auckland lockdown

John Kerr posted in on February 19th, 2015.

The discovery of solitary male Queensland fruit fly in the Grey Lynn area of Auckland has biosecurity authorities on high alert and prompted a lockdown on the movement of fruit and vegetables in the area. The fly was found in a Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) surveillance trap on Monday night and 1.5 kilometer control […]

Wasp-attacking mite to be studied

John Kerr posted in on April 22nd, 2014.

The media is abuzz over a new wasp biocontrol research project. Landcare research has received research funding to investigate a wasp-attacking mite which could be used to control invasive species. Two species of European wasps, Vespula germanica and Vespula vugaris, are significant environmental and economic pests in New Zealand, attacking honeybee populations, damaging vineyard crops […]

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EU votes against bee-harming pesticides – experts respond

John Kerr posted in on April 30th, 2013.

The European Commission has voted in favour of a two-year moratorium on the use of a pesticide known to harm bees. Neonicotinoid chemicals in pesticides have been blamed for falling bee numbers and the European Commission says they should be restricted to crops not attractive to bees and other pollinators. The Commission’s action is a […]

Invader ants don’t last in New Zealand

John Kerr posted in on December 1st, 2011.

The faltering march of an invasive ant species has been making headlines both in New Zealand and overseas. The invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile), first detected in New Zealand over 20 years ago, is well known internationally for its ability to spread in new territories. The ants are concern to authorities as the ants compete with […]

Media coverage: Dung beetles to improve kiwi farms

John Kerr posted in on April 8th, 2011.

Landcare Research has announced its plans to use at least two species of dung beetle to improve New Zealand’s environment. The beetles, currently in quarantine, will be used in New Zealand paddocks to quickly incorporate dung back into the soil, improving soil quality, minimising river pollution, and possibly reducing emissions. Media coverage: Press: Beetles may […]

Media Coverage: Ant-dropping wasps causing a buzz

John Kerr posted in on March 31st, 2011.

Previously unheard-of wasp behaviour documented by Victoria University scientists has gained major media coverage both in New Zealand and overseas. Dr Julien Grangier and Assoc. Professor Philip Lester, from the Victoria University School of Biological Sciences, noted some unusual behaviour displayed by invasive wasps (Vespula vulgaris) competing for food with native New Zealand ants (Prolasius […]

RNZ: New types of grasses being used to keep birds away

Peter Griffin posted in on June 9th, 2010.

Grazzlanz Technology, based in Palmerston North, has received funding to continue research into the commercial development of specific grasses which birds and insects find unpleasant. The growth of such grasses in airports and other public spaces could help to reduce the numbers of birds and insects in those spaces. An excerpt: (read in full here) […]

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