Kawakawa, the ‘holey’ herb of Aotearoa

Kawakawa – photo by Wendy Fox “… And the Lord spake, saying, ‘First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. …. Once the…

Save our bees or the consequences will sting

Save the bees! You’ve heard this before. Yet, most of us are either scared to be stung, or worse, are allergic to them. So, it can be difficult to grasp the thought that we should protect their wee bee lives. But, since we often hear about their distressing decline, they…

Better than Twilight? ‘Team fungi vs Team moth’.

Ask yourself this question. Do you like moths? If one was to swoop into your periphery at this very second would you be curious, ambivalent, or terrified? I am willing to bet that many of you reading this will have a particularly strong opinion of our scaly-winged compadres. I am…

Extreme Makeover: Wētā Motel Edition

Think of a motel. A bright neon sign flashing “VACANCY”. A building with lots of rooms. A large car park probably. These images jump into your mind. However, for many insects, birds and lizards the reality is a lot different. To them, a motel is a place to sleep for…

Yellow or purple? Colour choices of insects at the beach

When you think of the beach, what comes to mind? Do you think about basking in the sun, feeling the granules of golden sand underneath your toes, taking a refreshing dip in the blue, salty water with the waves crashing around you? To think of the plant life which thrives…

Aussie beetlers and views on reviews

I really like reading reviews. My favourite magazine is Empire, which reviews movies and, increasingly, TV series. My favourite podcasts review boardgames (like The Secret Cabal and Blue Peg, Pink Peg). My favourite science journal is the Quarterly Review of Biology, which reviews recent science books. I sometimes think that…

Hoverfly heroes- win the war on aphids

New Zealanders spend a fair bit of spare time in their gardens. If your roses are looking like the one below, covered in aphids, or your citrus trees have gone black with mould, you could spray insecti- or fungicides. Or, you could add some plants into your garden to encourage…

My Grandad’s Not Batty

My Grandad is an old school farmer in Central Hawkes Bay. Although he is quick with a dry joke, he is a man of few words. However, my Grandad is extremely knowledgeable in the ways of the natural world. He seems to know substantial information on the functionality of New…

A Prickly Problem: Munching Away on New Zealand’s Worst Pastoral Weed

200 years ago, there were no thistles present in New Zealand. Fast-forward to 2020 and they are just about everywhere. The worst species is Californian thistle (Cirsium arvense), which is estimated to cost almost $700 million in productivity losses per year.  A beetle, recently introduced to New Zealand to help…

Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle threatens palms in the Pacific Region

Coconut is an important crop in Pacific societies. They serve as a source of oil, fiber, food and timber. It is also an important small-holder crop that contributes to food security, improved nutrition, employment and income generation. Production of coconut is affected by the introduction of an invasive pest, the…