Scientists share latest research on three nasty pests present in America
New Zealand is fortunate to be free of many of the devastating plant pests that other countries are currently grappling with.
However, we know that we cannot be complacent, and recognise that it is essential to have good linkages with the international science community.this allows us to learn from their experiences and increase New Zealand’s readiness for pests that pose a significant threat to horticulture.
New Zealand recently hosted two well-known entomologists from the United States who shared their knowledge about Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys), Spotted Wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) and Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula). These three pests have invaded the United States in recent years, quickly reached high population numbers and currently cause significant headaches for growers.
Dr Kim Hoelmer is the Research Leader at the US Department of Agriculture’s Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit in Newark, Delaware. Kim is a research entomologist and a specialist in biological control. Kim gave an overview of the current status of the invasive pests Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Spotted Wing Drosophila and Spotted Lanternfly in the United States. He also talked about anticipated role of biological control, an area of promise in an otherwise gloomy story.
Dr Elijah Talamas from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, division of Plant Industry,is a specialist on the systematics of parasitoid wasps. Elijah discussed the role that parasitoid taxonomy has played in the efforts to control two invasive stink bugs: Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and Bagrada Bug (Bagrada hilaris), including the identification of adventive populations and emerging methods in molecular diagnostics.
New Zealand parties will continue to learn from Kim, Elijah and other offshore scientists to ensure our readiness efforts are informed by the knowledge of experts – those who study our high risk pests and know them well.
“New Zealand parties will continue to learn from Kim, Elijah and other offshore scientists to ensure our readiness efforts are informed by the knowledge of experts.”