New biocontrol bug welcomed
Hay fever su erers rejoice
There is hope on the horizon in the fight against Chinese privet weed, with the release of a tiny bug that feasts on the weed. Chinese privet is the bane of many hay fever sufferers, with its perfume thought to cause runny noses and itchy eyes.
It can also displace native plants, and the leaves and fruit are poisonous. The Chinese privet lace bug has recently been released by Auckland Council’s biosecurity team in the Hunua Ranges Regional Park and at Birkenhead War Memorial Park. The lace bug is an example of biological weed control (biocontrol), which uses a weed’s natural enemy to help control it.
While they won’t eradicate the weed, the lace bugs cause defoliation and reduced vigour of the plant, meaning other species, and importantly native species, can compete.
Magical Park – an app that transforms a normal park into a digital playground – can now be played at three Auckland parks. Made for children aged 6–11, the app augments the real world with 3D digital images via a smartphone or tablet. Environment and community committee chair councillor Penny Hulse says it helps get kids more active, more often.
“The app’s trial had some really positive results; we saw a lot of families getting out in our parks ‘collecting’ dinosaur eggs or catching kittens.” To find out how to play, visit www.facebook.com/ Magicalpark.