EPA approves Samurai Wasp application
KVH, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and other members of the New Zealand horticulture industry have welcomed the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) decision allowing the release of the tiny Samurai Wasp into New Zealand, if ever there is an incursion of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB).
The outcome is a major milestone against one of the greatest threats (should it occur) to New Zealand’s kiwifruit, horticultural industries and urban communities, and was made possible with the support of growers and industry groups who alongside KVH, made submissions and presented their views to the EPA during the consultation process. This was an excellent effort and we thank all those who contributed to the process. Of the 69 submissions made in the consultation process 24 were from the kiwifruit industry in support of this application.
The Samurai Wasp is the size of a poppy seed and completely harmless to humans and animals except stink bugs. It is a natural enemy of BMSB; the female wasp lays her eggs inside those of the stink bug, killing the nymph in the process. Studies overseas have shown that the wasp can destroy over 70 percent of the eggs in a stink bug egg mass. It also provides an opportunity to be proactive in our approach and gives us another tool we can use to manage the stink bug. Permission to release the wasp will be subject to a number of strict controls that will dictate when, where, and by whom it can be released. Biocontrol agents are normally sought once pests become a significant problem. This is the first time that we are aware of where a biological control has been approved before a pest has established
The application seeking permission to release the wasp in the event of an incursion was made to the EPA by KVH, Horticulture NZ and other horticultural industry groups through the BMSB Council as part of the Government Industry Agreement (GIA). Read the media release announcing the decision here.