Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Invertebrate transitional and containment facility

Image - Tom Fraser

The Invertebrate transitional and containment facility is a registered Physical Containment level 2 (PC2) building for the containment of insects and plants.

Insects are imported, under approval from the Environmental Protection Authority and the Ministry of Primary Industries, into our facility to complete host testing. This procedure ensures that any potential biocontrol agents are shown to be specific to the target plant species only. Before being released from the facility the insects must have their identity confirmed and that they are free of diseases by recognised authorities. While in the containment facility the insect colonies need to be maintained ready for release from containment and then mass reared for field release into the New Zeaqland environment. Many insects are collected in the Northern hemisphere during their summer, our winter, and so we need to rephrase them through a short winter so they are cycling on our summer/winter seasons before they can be released.

The containment facility has a dual purpose here in that we can contain insects while awaiting release approval and then we can change the rooms to non-containment and begin rearing the insects inside the facility in artificial conditions.

The facility is certified under the Biosecurity Act and run under the MPI Laboratory Standard 154.02.08 and externally audited by MPI to maintain its cerification.

The facility plays a major role in the successful importation, host testing, rearing and release of weed biocontrol insects in New Zealand.