TEST­ING TIMES

The Leader (Nelson) - - YOUR HEALTH -

Toft ar­rived in Nel­son around the same time that com­mon wasps were tak­ing over South Is­land beech forests.

He took part in stud­ies to learn the im­pacts th­ese in­vaders were hav­ing on na­tive species. The 1996 doc­u­men­tary, Bandits of the Beech Forest, shows a younger, bearded Toft in Nel­son Lakes Na­tional Park, study­ing the feed­ing habits of wasps and track­ing na­tive kaka.

Since then, it has be­come his life mis­sion to wipe out wasps.

He’s ex­per­i­mented with sev­eral meth­ods of wasp con­trol, in­clud­ing sodium flu­o­roac­etate, bet­ter known as 1080.

‘‘It’s ac­tu­ally quite ef­fec­tive on wasps but you need it a lot more toxic than you do in pos­sum baits. ‘‘In terms of wide scale con­trol, it just wouldn’t have been a goer.’’

Then there was Mirex, an

Richard Toft was drawn to in­vent Ve­spex from a nat­u­ral in­ter­est in wasps.

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