A tiny insect has been recruited to help control the invasive plant pest broom in the Bay of Plenty.
The broom gall mite, a native of Western Europe, attacks broom by forming clusters that stunt growth and reduce flowering. It can even kill whole bushes.
Two other insects, the broom psyllid and the broom shoot moth, have already been released in an attempt to reduce reliance on chemical pesticides.
A weed scientist at Landcare Research, Hugh Gourlay, says these and other broom-attacking insects were released in Canterbury initially and some have become well established around the country.