Forestry in South Africa
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July : Biological control agent for Leptocybe invasa released

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30 July, 2012

Biological control agent for Leptocybe invasa released

July 25 was an important day for forest protection in South Africa, as it marked the first release of Selitrichodes   neseri, the biological control agent for the eucalyptus gall wasp, Leptocybe invasa. Leptocybe invasa is one of the most devastating pests of Eucalyptus introduced in to South Africa. It was first detected in the country in 2007,but in plantation areas only in 2010. The first release of S. neseri took place in the Zululand region due to its warmer winters, but further introductions in all infested areas will take place during the remainder of the year. Although small, we hope that this initial release will be an important step towards the management of L. invasa.

The process towards the release of S. neseri has required a huge effort from many people and institutes, including the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Forestry South Africa (FSA), various forestry stakeholders, and the team at the FABI Biocontrol Centre, University of Pretoria. Although it is difficult to single out people, a special thanks must be given to Prof. Stefan Neser, who first found S. neseri in Australia and provided invaluable advice on the rearing and research associated with the release, and Mrs Marlene Harney, Ms Samantha Bush and Mrs Gudrun Dittrich-Schroeder who worked tirelessly to ensure the successful rearing of S. neseri. Thank you also to Dennis Oscroft (ICFR) who assisted with the identification of sites for this initial release.

Brett and Bernard, on behalf of the TPCP

Brett Hurley (PhD)
Entomology Researcher and Lecturer
Department of Zoology and Entomology
Tree Protection Cooperative Programme (TPCP)
Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI)
University of Pretoria

Phone: +27 12 420 5822
Cell: +27 82 9093211
Fax: +27 12 4203960