[11 October/ Stuff]

Tomato potato psyllid (TPP), a plant-eating insect has cost the New Zealand potato industry over $120 million since its discovery in 2006 and may be eradicated due to the tamarixia trioaze wasp. The wasp, originating from the United States and Mexico, destroys the tomato-potato psyllid pest by laying an egg on the psyllid. The wasp eggs hatch and the larvae feed on the TPP until they eat through the TPP’s shell to arise as an adult. Vegetable Research and Innovation Board Coordinator Sally Anderson said the arrival of the wasp was a relief for greenhouse growers. Ms Anderson said the pest would be priced similarly to the USA, which is sold at the equivalent of NZ$25 for 250 adults. Tomatoes New Zealand Business Manager Helen Barnes said export market control measures were established to confirm growers were not exporting the pest. The wasp was required to pass rigorous testing standards to assess whether it posed a risk to native New Zealand flora.