Pest Control in Urban Areas

New insect pests are most likely to arrive in New Zealand via our seaports and airports, and initially establish in the urban areas close to these entry points. The Pest Control in Urban Areas programme will develop new methods of detecting and controlling pests in these sensitive areas.

Our vision:  that new insect pests in urban areas are detected and controlled rapidly, cost-effectively, and with minimal disruption to local communities.

Our aim in this project is to develop an integrated package of tools to help meet both the technical and social challenges associated with urban pest control. This is a three-year (2015-2018) multi-sector project, funded and steered by central and regional government, primary producers and Māori.



Key activities

The Pest Control in Urban Areas programme has three main research themes:

  • Alternatives to broadcast aerial spraying: identifying and testing lower-impact alternatives to broadcast aerial spraying. The aim is to develop techniques for targeted spraying of individual trees or small areas. We will also develop eco-eradication methods, based on habitat manipulation and understanding of population dynamics, and a method for deciding which combination of eradication tools to use in a particular situation.
  • Active surveillance and rapid detection of new pests: developing new ways of actively seeking pests, including using UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) and remote sensing for surveillance and rapid detection of pests in urban areas.
  • Community engagement: developing tools to help those involved in urban pest control programmes to engage with local communities, including Maori, before and during pest control activities.


Key contacts

Dr Tara Strand and Dr Brian Richardson of Scion lead the Urban Pest Control programme.      03 364 2949   07 343 5899