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Biocontrol introduction

Target pest: Arundo donax (Poales: Poaceae), Giant reed

Agent introduced: Tetramesa romana (Hymenoptera: Eurytomidae), Arundo gall wasp



Import notes:

Landcare Research (2017c) - the opportunity to utilise T. romana in New Zealand arose opportunistically after it was imported into containment in Auckland as part of a Cook Islands project and it was subsequently found that giant reed in the Cook Islands had been confused with the similar-looking elephant grass.



Release details:

Landcare Research (2017c) - Permission to remove T. romana from containment has recently been granted and mass-rearing is underway in Auckland with the aim of making the first field releases in spring 2017.

Landcare Research (2018a) - the first release of the giant reed gall wasp was made in Kohukohu, in Northland (upper North Island), in early-December 2017. A further release was made in Northland just before Christmas, and two releases made in the Manawatu−Wanganui region (lower North Island) in January 2018. Two releases are planned for the Auckland region this summer (2017-18).

Landcare Research (2018h, 2019j, 2021e, 2022h) - five releases made in the year Sep 2017 - Aug 2018, two in the year Sep 2018 - Aug 2019, one in the year Sep 2020 - Aug 2021, two in the year Sep 2021 - Aug 2022.


Landcare Research (2022g) - it is not known if T. romana is successfully establishing in New Zealand.

Landcare Research (2023g) - establishment has been confirmed at one release site near Auckland.

Impacts on non-targets:

Landcare Research (2016k, 2017c) - T. romana is highly host specific and expected to attack only giant reed in New Zealand. Because of the significant amount of work done before these agents were released in the USA no further testing for the gall wasp was needed for New Zealand.

EPA Applications:

EPA (2017a) - 12 Sep 2016: application by Northland Regional Council to introduce a gall forming wasp (Tetramesa romana) and a scale insect (Rhizaspidiotus donacis) to control giant reed (Arundo donax). EPA Application # APP202887, approved without controls 17 Jan 2017.


EPA (2017a). EPA application APP202887: to introduce a gall forming wasp (Tetramesa romana) and a scale insect (Rhizaspidiotus donacis) to control giant reed (Arundo donax). Environmental Protection Authority website https://www.epa.govt.nz/database-search/hsno-application-register/view/APP202887

Landcare Research (2016k). The host ranges of Tetramesa romana and Rhizaspidiotus donacis, potential control agents for giant reed, Arundo donax. http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/112742/The-host-range-testing-for-giant-reed.pdf

Landcare Research (2017c). Tiny insects to attack giant reed Weed Biocontrol: What's New? 80: 4-5 http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/141133/Issue-80.pdf

Landcare Research (2018a). First release of new agents. Weed Biocontrol: What's New? 83, February 2018 https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/publications/newsletters/biological-control-of-weeds/issue-83/first-release-of-new-agents

Landcare Research (2018h). Biocontrol agents released in 2017/18. Weed Biocontrol: What's New? 85, August 2018 https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/publications/newsletters/biological-control-of-weeds/issue-85/biocontrol-agents-released-in-201718

Landcare Research (2019j). Biocontrol agents released in 2018/19. Weed Biocontrol: What's New? 89, August 2019 https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/publications/newsletters/biological-control-of-weeds/weed-biocontrol-issue-89/biocontrol-agents-released-in-201819

Landcare Research (2021e). Further reading and agents released. Weed Biocontrol: What's New? 97, August 2021 https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/publications/weed-biocontrol/weed-biocontrol-articles/further-reading

Landcare Research (2022g). Spring activities. Weed Biocontrol: What's New? 101, August 2022 https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/publications/weed-biocontrol/weed-biocontrol-articles/spring-activities-3/

Landcare Research (2022h). Further reading and agents released 2021/22. Weed Biocontrol: What's New? 101, August 2022 https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/publications/weed-biocontrol/weed-biocontrol-articles/further-reading-and-agents-released-202122/

Landcare Research (2023g). Who's who in the biological control of weeds. Weed Biocontrol: What's New? 105, August 2023 https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/publications/weed-biocontrol/weed-biocontrol-articles/whos-who/