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Biological control releases in the Waikato region

Biocontrol uses one living organism to control another. Plants that have become pests in New Zealand have usually been introduced without their natural predators from their native origin, which help keep them in check and prevent them becoming invasive. Biocontrol does not aim to eradicate a pest plant but rather help reduce the impacts of the pest plant by making it less competitive.

Woolly nightshade lace bug

Biocontrol programmes in the Waikato region

Biocontrol programmes for pest plants in the Waikato Regional Pest Management Plan currently underway:

Biocontrol for other pest plants currently underway:

Waikato Regional Council belongs to a national biocontrol collective made up of Landcare Research, regional councils and DOC. Landcare Research is the key agency that investigates potential agents for biocontrol of pest plants in New Zealand and carries out the rigorous testing required for new biocontrol agents.

Other potential agents are being investigated, or are in the pipeline for moth plant, pampas, privet and alligator weed, all of which are serious pests in the region.

Biocontrol is an increasingly important weapon in the pest plant control arsenal.  There are no certainties about the effectiveness of a biocontrol agent.  Some people suggest biocontrol is definitely the way of the future.

Identifying biocontrol agents

For details about how to recognise if weed biocontrol agents are already present on a weed or for advice on handing, collection, and management see Landcare Research

Related publications

Biocontrol agents for weeds in New Zealand - download

'What makes a pest a pest? - A guide to Waikato's pest management future' - download, order or pick up for free from our offices.

'Plant me instead - Plants to use in place of common pest plants' pick up or order for free from our offices.

'National Pest Plant Accord Manual' pick up or order for $10 from our offices, or view it online for free.

'Poisonous plants and fungi in New Zealand - A guide for parents, schools and child minders' pick up or order for $15 from our offices.

Read our Waikato Regional Pest Management Plan.


Although this content has been prepared in good faith from a number of sources believed to be reliable, Waikato Regional Council does not give any guarantee that all information contained is accurate or complete, or that advice given will be appropriate in all circumstances.