Victoria at the Club with Professor Phil Lester
When someone says “wasp!”, most people experience a burst of adrenaline and are immediately on edge. There is, however, good reason for your fight-or-flight response. Social wasps (Vespula vulgaris and V. germanica) are clever and have painful weapons that can cause hospitalisation or worse. They are extremely successful invasive invaders that can dominate resources, competitively excluding vertebrates thousands of times heavier than themselves. Their economic toll on the New Zealand economy is substantial. By many definitions, they are “pests” that do substantial harm. So, what should we do about them? Live and let live? Or control through pesticides, or gene drives via genetic modification? There are risks for whatever pest management programme we as a country decide to pursue.
Phil Lester is a Professor of Entomology and Ecology at Victoria University. He works primarily on invasive wasps and ants in New Zealand and the wider Pacific.
Dress: Business Casual
5.30pm: Registration & welcome drink
Presentation and drink: $10
Dinner and presentation: $50