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Cafe Scientifique: Invasive Wasp Control

Ticket Information

  • Free Admission


  • Mon 9 Sep 2019, 5:30pm–7:00pm


All Ages Licensed

September 2019 Cafe Scientifique: Genetic modification and gene editing for invasive wasp control.

5.30pm seating for a 6pm start of talk: Function Room.
The Arborist is accessible through the ground floor of the Trinity Hotel.

Hosted by: The Centre For Science in Society, Victoria University of Wellington

Proudly supported by the Wellington Branch of the Royal Society Te Apārangi.
Email for enquiries:

Phil Lester
Insect Ecology, School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington

New Zealand has a major wasp problem. Over the last century, Common and German wasps invaded and established throughout the country. We have a million hectares of honeydew beech forest where wasps reach the highest densities known anywhere in the world.

These wasps exert a major toll on our biodiversity. What should we do about them? In this presentation, I’ll discuss the potential of new gene editing technologies for wasp and pest control. What are the barriers to its use and how safe is gene editing? How far along the track are we towards using it? And would it effectively control wasps if we did genetically modify these pests?

Phil is a Professor of Ecology and Entomology at Victoria University of Wellington, where his research is in population dynamics and ecology of social insects. Invasive ants and social wasps in the Pacific region a particular focus. He currently sits on the editorial board of the journals Biological Invasions and Myrmecological News. He has previously been Head of School for the School of Biological Sciences, and a prior President of the Entomological Society of New Zealand. 

Cafe Scientifique is a place where anyone can come along and enjoy a range of science speakers in a relaxed, friendly environment. The evening consists of a short talk followed by a Q&A.

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