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New Zealand Plant Protection 69 (2016): 296-304

Use of the sterile insect technique in New Zealand: Benefits and constraints

R.M. Horner, J.T.S. Walker, D.J. Rogers, P.L. Lo and D.M. Suckling


The sterile insect technique (SIT) is increasingly being evaluated as a potential complementary strategy for pest suppression or elimination. New Zealand's export fruit sector has an imperative to meet strict international phytosanitary requirements, together with increasing market demand for residue-free produce. SIT is a pest-specific method of insect control that can complement current Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies. Successful SIT presents significant challenges: the target pest must be a good candidate for suppression, and strong stakeholder and community commitment is required to achieve and maintain suppression until area-wide elimination is achieved. Emerging sterilisation technologies and refinement of existing methods are making this technology progressively more efficient and cost-effective. This study reviewed the advantages of including SIT in an IPM programme and described the first use of codling moth SIT in New Zealand. A pilot programme is currently underway to evaluate its potential to achieve local elimination of codling moth in Central Hawke's Bay apple orchards.

Keywords: Sterile Insect Technique, integrated pest management, apples, codling moth, local elimination.

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