The wasps will help protect the pipfruit industryA species of
The 1,000 Mastrus wasps released mark a new era in the control of a pest which has been here for more than 100 years.
The codling moth affects pipfruits like apples and pears, it's believed to have come to
Plant and Food Research has spent the last four years on the Mastrus Wasp Project. The wasps are natives of
The female wasp attacks the cocoons of the codling moth by laying its eggs on the moth's larvae. When the wasp larvae hatch they feed on the codling moth larvae.
“We've spent the last two or three years testing it against a whole lot of other insects to make sure it only attacks codling moth and doesn't attack any of New Zealand's fauna and flora,” says Plant and Food researcher John Charles.
Controlling the moth costs the pipfruit industry around $10 million a year, but without control the industry wouldn't be a viable global export.
“There is zero tolerance of codling moth, particularly in some of the Asian markets,” says Mike Butcher of Pipfruit New
If the wasps survive well in the Hawke's Bay the plan is to eventually release them to all apple and pear growing regions in