What is the future of Pest control?

What is the future of Pest control?

It is obvious to most that trapping and dropping toxins like 1080 is not the long term answer to pest control. We do a fantastic job of holding back the tide of Pests but we need better solutions. The Government made the bold statement that there was an intention to become pest free by 2050. Oh REALLY??

This is an admirable target but like so many good bureaucratic intentions, the goal desired is weakest at the point of the actual practical application and there is no way that this can happen under the existing structure.  As their name suggests, The Department of Conservation should be leading the charge on this plan. But DOC appear to have such a fragmented and underfunded and their remaining Bio-diversity team that has all but lost the passion to get the job done to lead the way on this as well as all their other projects. I have done ecological projects with DOC for over 20 years and they are not improving and never will under their current structure. Even on land managed by DOC  most regular trapping work is done by Volunteers.

Scientists around the World are doing research on manipulating the Genes on pests to achieve a more sure and lasting result. This is commonly called Gene drive or Gene Editing and in my opinion is the future of pest control. Target pests would be Mosquitos, and Wasps but also Rats, Possums and Mustelids. Lots of testing in labs needs to be done to predict what will happen on a larger scale.

You will know that a gene looks a lot like a twisted rope ladder ( a double helix) with a DNA code attached and by working out what part does what, it’s possible to (SNP) snip parts out to make the host behave differently. So, as an example, imagine a Mosquito or Wasp that can no longer breed or male Possums that are sterile.

Plant & Food Research and Landcare are also doing Wasp trials using Pheramones and Parasites and these hold a lot of promise.

To save our Native species from gradual but undoubted extinction , doing nothing is not an option and in my humble onion, Gene edits and biological controls are the future of pest control. If changes are not made quite soon we will eventually end up where we are headed. The discussion and research needs to get started. NOW.

Bryce Buckland