Mites fight Clarence River broom
A MICROSCOPIC MITE that fights broom has become widespread since its release in 2008 says Environment Canterbury biosecurity advisor Steve Palmer.
“They form small colonies which look like warts on the branch. These colonies grow to about one centimetre and then spread out from there. They attack small shoots on the plants and eventually stunt and kill the plants.
“They’ve spread at a rate of 86 metres per year but... I’ve seen it up the Waiau River and you can find it on lots of roadways. I’ve even seen them along roads near Ashburton.”
The mites are particularly useful if you are trying to destroy remote blocks of broom which are difficult to access on foot. Steve and his team have used helicopters to drop broom branches infested with mite colonies into a number of remote sites.
“They’re ideal for large blocks of broom which won’t be sprayed and are difficult to access on foot.
“Using mites also reduces the amount of chemicals being used which is always good for the environment – particularly for areas near waterways.”