Tamarixia – A Sustainable Solution
This is a wasp that will help control psyllid.
Psyllid is a plant louse that transmits the liberibacter bacteria, which causes plant deaths in potatoes, tomatoes, capsicum and tamarillos. It also causes zebra chipping in potatoes.
At present, growers are forced to spray their crops to control psyllid, costing in one case around $500 a hectare for potato control per annum. To date, around $7m has been spent on R&D to find control for psyllid. This wasp is a stand out solution.
Introduction of this wasp will reduce chemical spraying and, in some cases will result in no spraying whatsoever; it is a wholly sustainable option that HortNZ fully supports.
This brilliant sustainable possibility has been supported by the Environmental Protection Authority staff in their report. The EPA considered that the minimum requirements in the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) have been met. The last step is to get the EPA Decision Committee to support their staff’s recommendation.
The wasp will be released through a three year control programme to ensure that it is controlling psyllid and not causing any untoward consequences.
The only objection came from the Department of Conservation, who were concerned about the impact on native psyllid species. The EPA Decision Making Committee, who heard the application today, will therefore have to weigh up DOC’s concerns against the sustainable benefits to the horticulture industry.
-Mike Chapman, CEO