New bio­con­trol bug wel­comed

Hay fever su er­ers rejoice

Paper Boy - - Front Page - Vir­tual real­ity game gets kids ac­tive

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.

Dig­i­tal play­ground

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.

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“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.

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