The biocontrol of Eucalyptus tortoise beetle

12 April 2018

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.

Watch the video.

After five years working on P. charybdis control, the researchteam is preparing a submission to the Environmental Protection Authority forpermission to release the wasp. The team invites people’s views on theproposed release of this biological control agent so that issues raised duringconsultation can be incorporated into Scion's submission to the authority inJune 2018.  

Feedback can be submitted online or by email to toni.withers@scionresearch.com

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.