Wasps in the media

On the 1st of November, Dr. Phil Lester, an eminent biologist at Victoria University, spoke to the Nelson Science Society about the research he is leading to eliminate wasps . Phil, said it was appropriate that he was giving the talk in Nelson, which he said was the "wasp capital of New Zealand".

Phil is leading a National Biological Heritage Challenge research team to tackle one of New Zealand’s worst pests – wasps. The team is investigating a number of methods for reducing or eliminating them, and most rely on the very latest gene technologies. They hope to use wasps as a model for tackling other pests.

One method is gene silencing, that is stopping the expression of particular genes and thus interfering with an essential physiological process, like skeleton building.

Another possible technique arising from DNA analysis is to nurture, and introduce into the wild, large populations of wasps with mutations in their mitochondrial DNA, which might render their progeny sterile. This is called the Trojan female technique.

Phil's talk was arranged and funded by the National Biological Heritage Challenge.

Media coverage » Wiping out invasive wasps a 'critical issue' for New Zealand's environment Jonathan Carson, Stuff 3/11/2016

More information » The problem with wasps