The biocontrol of Eucalyptus tortoise beetle
Scion and the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association want to introduce a new biological control agent into Aotearoa from Australia to control the larvae of the Eucalyptus tortoise beetle.
Eucalyptus plantations are important to New Zealand’s forestry industry. They provide pulp and timber, with additional benefits in veneer lumber, farm forestry, honey production, firewood and carbon sequestration. Eucalypts are also widely planted and enjoyed as amenity trees in parks in urban areas.
The Eucalyptus tortoise beetle (Paropsis charybdis) is a significant pest of eucalypts in New Zealand especially shining gum (Eucalyptus nitens), as well as other gums such as the coastal grey box (Eucalyptus bosistoana), which has the potential to produce naturally ground durable wood.
The biological control agent is a parastioid wasp (Eadya daenerys). This natural predator of Eucalyptus tortoise beetle cannot interbreed with native species, does not predate on local beetle species and will not affect human health.
After five years working on P. charybdis control, the research team is preparing a submission to the Environmental Protection Authority for permission to release the wasp. The team invites people’s views on the proposed release of this biological control agent so that issues raised during consultation can be incorporated into Scion's submission to the authority in June 2018.
Read more about the biocontrol of the Eucalyptus tortoise beetle work.
The work has been funded by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund, Scion Strategic Science Investment Funding, South Wood Exports and Oji Fibre Solutions Ltd.