8 Dec 2010

Parasitic wasp released in Southland this week

10:47 am on 8 December 2010

Small parasitic wasps are being released in Southland this week to counter a devastating pasture pest.

The clover root weevil has been spreading through the country since its discovery in Waikato in the 1990s and was found in the Gore area, in Southland, earlier this year.

The weevil causes estimated losses to agriculture of $1 billion a year by destroying the white clover which is an essential element of the pasture on New Zealand farms.

Southland Regional Council senior biosecurity officer Randall Milne says the tiny wasps, which have been imported from Ireland and bred in the laboratory by AgResearch, has been been released in the North Island and Nelson region with some success.

He says it will be released on a farm near Mataura in Southland on Friday and when numbers have built up will be distributed elsewhere.