4 Nov 2012

Wasp to fight codling moth 'will reduce need for spray'

10:30 am on 4 November 2012

Pipfruit New Zealand says a new biological control agent for codling moth could save apple growers millions of dollars a year in spray costs.

The wasp, Matrus ridens, originates in Kazakhstan and has been successful in helping control the moth in the United States.

On Thursday Plant and Food Research released 1000 of the parasitoid wasps into a Hawke's Bay orchard.

Pipfruit New Zealand technical manager Mike Butcher says the wasp will complement growers' integrated pest control programmes, and reduce their need to spray.

He says the release of the biological control agent will give more robustness to the management programme and help get fruit to markets which are sensitive to coddling moth, particularly the emerging, high value Asian market.

Mr Butcher says it will also benefit home gardeners who grow apples, pears and walnuts - all of which are hosts of coddling moth.

He says there will be further releases of the wasp in Hawke's Bay this month and the aim is to have it established in all apple growing regions within a year.