Tradescantia (Wandering Willie)

Tradescantia Trial

Research & Monitoring – With Descriptor

About the project

The weed Tradescantia (Wandering Willie) is a significant problem in Northland and causes massive damage in natural areas by smothering native seedlings and preventing bush regeneration. The weed is currently managed on farmland by grazing stock often on margins of land near waterways, wetlands and in natural bush/forest areas. Allowing stock to graze these areas results in nutrients and sediment entering waterways. Living Water is partnering with Landcare Research to test the effectiveness of three Brazilian beetles to control Tradescantia, giving landowners a cost-effective alternative control method while they continue stock exclusion fencing and riparian restoration activities.


  • Cost effective weed control for farmers
  • Reduced nutrient and sediment loads into the Wairua River once waterway fencing and riparian planting can be undertaken


  • The three-year trial began in December 2015 with the release of 300 beetles in the experiment area.
  • Initial results show that beetle larvae are stripping leaves bare and remaining leaves are being well-chewed by adult beetles
  • This project is part of a series of trials across Northland and Auckland being delivered by Landcare Research.

Project Concept and Planning

Completed December 2015

Progress: 100%

Project Implementation and Monitoring

Started in December 2015 and due to end in 2019

Progress: 50%