Two insects common around the Mediterranean will soon be chewing their way through a big problem in Northland.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has approved an application by Northland Regional Council (NRC) to introduce a wasp and a scale insect to New Zealand to control the giant reed, Arundo donax.

The reed, sometimes known as elephant grass or bamboo grass, is mainly found in Northland but could potentially establish throughout New Zealand.

It grows up to eight metres tall and inhabits streamsides, estuaries, disturbed lowland and coastal forest margins, river systems, and gullies.

Giant reed smothers, shades out and displaces all other plant species and can block streams and drains, causing flooding.

It expands via a strong rhizome network which generates large colonies of plants, growing prolifically and harming the biodiversity of insect and plant life.

The plant, which is native to eastern and southern Asia and possibly parts of North Africa, has displaced endemic and endangered species in the United States, Mexico and Canary Islands.