Thursday, 22 June, 2017 - 09:40

(Photograph courtesy of Lloyd Stringer)

Scientists at Plant & Food Research, B3 (Better Border Biosecurity) and the University of Auckland have been researching Argentine ants to determine how odour and physical cues help them to forage for food.

Argentine ants are heavily reliant on chemical cues such as odour trails for orientation and retrieving food, yet the behaviour of outdoor colonies suggests tactile features in their environment are also used to assist with foraging.


Tuesday, 20 June, 2017 - 11:32

B3 partners, Plant & Food Research (PFR) and Scion, have been successful in the latest round of science investment funding from MBIE’s Catalyst Strategic Fund for a project addressing the threat of myrtle rust to New Zealand. 

 “The funding of this programme is hugely encouraging, given the wide range of science questions we are currently facing on myrtle rust in New Zealand. This project will form an important component of, and will build on, the proposed longer-term research initiative dedicated to finding answers as to how New Zealand can combat the myrtle rust threat” says Dr Rebecca Martin (Senior Advisor, Conservation, MPI).


Tuesday, 30 May, 2017 - 14:32

About 50 researchers met in Christchurch on 15 May to brain-storm science solutions with which to mitigate the impact of myrtle rust after the disease was found for the first time in New Zealand on Raoul Island (announced 4 April) and in the North Island (announced 4 May). 

“Myrtle rust could be one of the most significant biosecurity incursions in New Zealand in recent years with potentially important environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts that would affect most New Zealanders” says B3 Director Dr David Teulon.

Myrtle rust is a South American fungal disease that has...

Friday, 7 April, 2017 - 14:16

"MPI scientist examines myrtle rust on samples"

The current myrtle rust incursion on the small New Zealand territory of Raoul Island (1050km north of Cape Reinga) is a severe wake-up call about the threat of invasive plant pathogens to our productive and natural plant systems.

“It is a reminder of the constant need for vigilance and preparedness” says Dr David Teulon, Director of Better Border Biosecurity (B3). 


The discovery of myrtle rust on Raoul Island is an example of how successful multi-organisational information sharing can be, as the finding was almost wholly attributable to the attendance of DOC advisor, David Havell who, following up on reports of unusual damage to trees from the Raoul Island weed team,  recognised myrtle rust following experienced gained from being a member of DOC’s Myrtle Rust awareness team and by attending a myrtle rust workshop organised by MPI, B3 and the Australian Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre (PBCRC) which was held in December 2016 to raise the profile of this unwanted pathogen. 


“Myrtle rust has been recognised as a severe threat to New Zealand for...

Thursday, 15 December, 2016 - 08:06

Growing trade and tourism between China and New Zealand are necessitating greater co-operation in the area of plant border biosecurity.  The Better Border Biosecurity (B3) research collaboration and its partners are working hard to develop these.

Invasive species with the potential to attack New Zealand’s and China’s valued plant systems are significant biosecurity risks in both countries so there are substantial mutual benefits in working together.  In New Zealand, both government and industry see the maintenance of an effective biosecurity system as one of their top priorities.  China has been identified as one country that has most to lose from further species invasions.  New Zealand is recognised as having one of the best border biosecurity systems in the world and China is becoming one of the world’s scientific super-powers.  Mutual cooperation would seem to be highly advantageous.

China is now the source of more imports into New Zealand than any other country, and provides the second largest number of tourists entering New Zealand - both activities providing pathways for the entry of invasive species of biosecurity risk.  Additionally, information on pests and diseases from China is much...

Thursday, 1 December, 2016 - 08:34


Scientific expertise drawn from the Better Border Biosecurity (B3) collaboration has helped drive the world-first eradication of the invasive great white butterfly.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry announced last week that the pest great white butterfly (GWB) has been successfully eradicated from New Zealand - the first eradication of an unwanted butterfly population in the world.

See DOC/MPI’s original media release about declaring GWB eradicated:

This world first accomplishment has received international attention:

Thursday, 22 September, 2016 - 10:46

 The nematology team sorting samples from taro

Scientists from Better Border Biosecurity (B3) have been trialling a specially engineered high-pressure washing machine for taro to reduce invasive species entering New Zealand.

Taro is a particularly difficult vegetable to clean – the product is covered in...

Tuesday, 6 September, 2016 - 13:25




This article was published in the September 2016 issue (Volume 20 number 3) of ‘The Journal’ – issued by The New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management


Strategic document launched


Tuesday, 16 August, 2016 - 13:16


B3 science made a notable contribution to advance the development of an International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM), to reduce the incidence of pests on sea containers, at a May 2016 meeting of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM).  The CPM is the governing body of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) which is part of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.  The IPPC establishes standards for international trade with an eye to preventing the spread of diseases and pests that damage agriculture and forestry.


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