Home' Central Canterbury News : March 13th 2013 Contents 4 CENTRAL CANTERBURY NEWS, MARCH 13, 2013
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to tackle potato bug
AGENT ORANGE: Southern ladybirds were introduced to New Zealand during the 1970s as a biological control agent. Photo: FAIRFAX
POTATO PESTICIDE: Professor Steve
Wratten is using ladybirds to protect potato
THE HUMBLE ladybird could be the
answer to protecting New Zealand's
Lincoln University's Bio-Protection
Research Centre has been trialling the
southern ladybird as a biological control
agent to help minimise the harmful
effects of the Tomato-Potato Psyllid
(TPP). A tiny sap-sucking insect,
TPP is said to be affecting the New
Zealand potato industry by feeding on
leaves and transmitting a harmful bac-
terium with devastating effects over the
last seven years.
Professor of Ecology, Steve Wratten,
said laboratory testing had shown the
ladybird can consume up to 100 TPP dur-
ing a 24-hour period.
The Lincoln centre will release the first
batch of southern ladybirds into an
organic potato crop in Hororata today.
Bioforce, the commercial breeder of bio-
logical control agents, has provided lady-
bird adults and eggs.
The ladybirds will be monitored to
establish whether they can survive and if
they have the ability to spread further
over the crop, lay eggs and reduce
Professor Wratten said the ideal out-
come of the research project would be to
produce an alternative solution for potato
growers, to reduce TPP damage without
having to use insecticide.
The current control method for TPP
requires frequent applications of insec-
ticides and it is possible the TPP may
Many of the agricultural tools and
techniques of the past are losing their
effectiveness,'' he said.
It is not known how the TPP arrived
in New Zealand, but it is also damaging
the tomato, capsicum, eggplant and
The ladybird is found throughout
southern and central Australia, and was
first introduced to New Zealand during
the 1970s as a biological control agent for
the eggs of the eucalypt tortoise beetle.
The research has received funding
from Potatoes New Zealand.
EYE OPENER: Amy Adams with Selwyn's Youth MP for
2010, Hannah Singh.
PROSPECTIVE YOUNG politicians in Selwyn are
being invited to apply to be part of this year's
Selwyn MP Amy Adams is encouraging any
youngsters between 16 and 18 who live in the
electorate to apply.
They will join 121 other Youth MPs when they
take over New Zealand's Parliament on July 16
I want to hear from young people who want to
get out and engage with other young people in
their community to gather their views and
represent them in Parliament,'' Ms Adams said.
Youth Parliament is held once every parlia-
mentary term and is a significant opportunity
for young New Zealanders to participate in
Parliament and the decision-making process,'' Ms
Selwyn's Youth MP for 2010, Hannah Singh,
also encouraged young people in the electorate to
seize the opportunity and apply.
The experience really opened my eyes to
the political process. The highlight for me was
going to Wellington and seeing Parliament,'' Ms
Nominated Youth MPs will hold the title from
May 1 to December 31 this year. They are expec-
ted to engage with their community during this
time, so all young people in New Zealand have the
chance to have their voices heard.
Anyone interested in becoming a Youth MP
should contact Amy Adams' Selwyn electorate
office on 03 344 0418 as soon as possible.
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