Novel pest control technologies
Leader: Professor Phil Lester, Victoria University of Wellington
By providing end-users with the tools (and deployment strategies) to control current insect pest issues, and to combat new incursions of unwanted insects, this project will help reverse the decline of native biodiversity through a national partnership that moves beyond the current status quo to involve the best researchers and end-users for the task across the country.
Wasps stand out as one of the worst intractable pest problems in New Zealand, with massive impacts on iconic fauna and parts of the productive sector such as grape and citrus production. They are also a public health and nuisance issue. New tools for wasp control are one of the top ten research priority areas for regional government agencies, along with community and industry groups. This project aims to deliver a step-change in the management of wasps, shifting from the current “small site control” towards “landscape-scale eradication”. The project will develop four state-of-the-art technologies to combat wasps. Technology development will be complemented by two cross-cutting research strands: (1) development of an eradication strategy for wasps, utilising statistical methods to evaluate current and emerging control tools with a view to achieving eradication; and (2) an assessment of public perceptions and perspectives on the use of novel pest control strategies, in order to account for any strongly held concerns that might prevent adoption of new pest control tools. The views of Māori will be given particular consideration, given their status as tangata whenua with a long and intimate association with indigenous flora and fauna.
Co-develop four new technologies for insect control (with appropriate tactical, strategic, and end-user considerations), using the common wasp (Vespula vulgaris) as a test species and assess the economic feasibility, social acceptability and practicality of each technology for large-scale deployment.
- Can we develop novel genetic technologies (RNAi and mtDNA) to regulate wasp populations?
- Can we use ‘Trojan mites’ to deliver pathogens into wasp nests?
- Can we use smart dispensers to deliver pheromones or insecticides to wasps?
- Can we develop wasp eradication strategies?
Scientists discover link between climate change and invasive wasp numbers
Jonathon Carson, STUFF, January 18 2017
What will the wasp plague be like this year?
Animal Ecology In Focus Posted on January 18, 2017
What will the wasp plague be like this year?
Victoria University News, 18 January 2017
Wiping out invasive wasps a 'critical issue' for New Zealand's environment
Jonathan Carson, Stuff 3/11/2016
Waging war on wasp sex could restore harmony to summer picnics
Rachel Thomas, Suff July 21 2016
Lester, P. J., Haywood, J., Archer, M. E. and Shortall, C. R. (2017), The long-term population dynamics of common wasps in their native and invaded range. J Anim Ecol. doi:10.1111/1365-2656.12622
Wolff, Tompkins, Gemmell & Dowling. 2016. Mitonuclear interactions, mtDNA- mediated thermal plasticity, and implications for the Trojan Female Technique for pest control. Scientific Reports 6: 30016.
Duncan, Hyink & Dearden. 2016. Notch signalling mediates reproductive constraint in the adult worker honeybee. Nature Communications 7: 12427.
Dobelmann, Loope, Wilson-Rankin, Quinn, Baty, Gruber & Lester. In Review. Fitness in invasive social wasps: the role of variation in viral load, immune response, and paternity in predicting nest size and reproductive output. Oikos.
7 December 2017 - Whats new
The development of novel wasp suppression and eradication tools requires an understanding of what factors limit or regulate…
28 September 2017 - Whats new
We need better, effective methods to manage pests. Using wasps as a model system to develop socially acceptable,…
18 April 2017 - Whats new
The Wasp Tactical Group aims to facilitate science direction for improved management of pest wasps, by operating a…
19th Apr 2017 - 20th Apr 2017 - Whats new
You are warmly invited to attend the 66th annual conference of the New Zealand Entomological Society, to be held at Victoria University, Wellington. 19–21 April 2017.
19 January 2017 - Whats new
New research, lead by Professor Dr Phil Lester, has shown that climate has a significant effect on common…
7 November 2016 - Whats new
Dr. Phil Lester, an eminent biologist at Victoria University, spoke to the Nelson Science Society about the research…
26 July 2016 - Whats new
They don't just spoil our picnics, they kill native chicks. The warm weather is not helping to control…