SPS Biosecurity in fight against wasps

SPS Biosecurity in fight against wasps

TMBC Members SPS Biosecurity found themselves busier than ever during the lockdown, working closely with Environment Canterbury (E-Can) and the Chatham Islands District Council to successfully wipe out a population of German wasps – the first ever established on the Chathams. The Chatham Islands isolation and unique ecosystem means it is free of many pests and diseases found on mainland New Zealand. Suppliers and contractors of materials being shipped to the Chathams can be a pathway for pests and contamination (new weeds species & diseases) to arrive on the island.

The suppliers or contractors are risk assessed by SPS Biosecurity Limited and if considered high risk, also provided with free pest control measures, information pamphlets and posters, Biosecurity training and advice. SPS also provides twoex MPI Inspectors based in Napier and Timaru to conduct pre-shipment inspections of freight.

Environment Canterbury (E-Can) under the provisions of the Biosecurity Act 1993 have developed a pest management strategy. This programme is effectively managed by the Chatham Islands District Council with operational elements provided by SPS Biosecurity. To find out more about how they won the war against wasps, click here.

Paul Bradbury, Director of SPS Biosecurity says that it’s not over yet, with a wider survey planned for later this year using bait stations. 

“Fifteen years ago SPS commissioned Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research to assess pest-risk for the Chathams. Wasps ants and plague skinks emerged as the main threats that could cross the Chatham’s biosecurity border due to their cryptic hitchhiking behaviours,’ says Paul. 

True to predictions we have now had an incursion of all three, despite the rigorous border activities in place that target these pests. Encouragingly however, we have been able to detect and eliminate these pests quickly!