Distant experts fight bug threat
Two scientists on opposite sides of the world are at the forefront of the battle to keep some of the most insidious, damaging pests at bay from valuable food crops. This summer in northern Italy they are working closely in an effort to try to stymie the spread of the voracious Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) there and keep it out of New Zealand entirely.
Professors Claudio Ioriatti of Foundazione Edmund Mach and Max Suckling of New Zealand’s Plant and Food Research and University of Auckland spoke to Farmers Weekly last week about their battle with bugs across the hemispheres:
Standing in an orchard in the warm north Italian sunshine Professor Max Suckling casts a rueful eye towards the mountains surrounding the Trento district.
“I am sure those hills are crawling with them,” he observes, referring to the BMSB flitting and crawling across the ripening apples next to him.
The stink bug has already almost wiped out Italy’s €300 million pear industry and now threatens Trento’s 10,000 hectares of apple crops. Its impact in NZ would devastate the horticultural sector and significantly increase the amount of sprays used on remaining fruit, losing NZ fruit’s premium as a low-residue fruit supplier.
Read more here.