This is a very pretty sight

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Your Letters - Www.nzfma.org.nz/about/ about-feed­safenz Postal de­tails: Dr Bob Brown, Land­care Re­search, PO Box 69040, Lin­coln 7640

IT DOESN’T LOOK THAT PRETTY,

but these tiny mites are a mighty de­vel­op­ment in the war against wasps, and a promis­ing bio­con­trol agent against New Zealand’s wasp prob­lem, con­sid­ered the worst in the world.

Land­care Re­search sci­en­tist Dr Bob Brown dis­cov­ered the un­named mite in 2011 and has been re­search­ing if it is a pos­si­ble bio­con­trol agent. His latest find­ings sug­gest it could be: wasp nests where the mites are present are 50-70 per­cent smaller than un­in­fested nests.

HOW YOU CAN HELP?

Dr Brown needs peo­ple to send in wasp queens from around the coun­try to see how many are in­fested with the mite. The queens are much larger than worker wasps, and hi­ber­nate in shel­tered places like sheds and piles of wood, sit­ting qui­etly with their wings tucked un­der­neath their ab­domen. They tend to be very docile.

Take care when col­lect­ing a queen: • keep it re­frig­er­ated (NOT frozen) un­til post­ing; • place it in a small con­tainer with some tis­sue pa­per; • in­clude in­for­ma­tion about where it was col­lected - a GPS ref­er­ence is great, but an ad­dress or other lo­ca­tion iden­ti­fier is fine; • avoid send­ing spec­i­mens on a Thurs­day or Fri­day as spec­i­mens tend to de­te­ri­o­rate if they aren’t de­liv­ered un­til Mon­day.

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