Beetle battles

13 August 2018

The search for a biocontrol agent for the eucalyptus tortoise beetle has led Scion entomologists to some odd places.

Dr Toni Withers and Andrew Pugh talk about their ‘beetle battles’ on RNZ’s Our Changing World.

The eucalyptus tortoise beetle (Paropsis charybdis) is a significant pest of eucalypts in New Zealand. Eucalyptus are important to New Zealand’s forestry industry, providing pulp and timber, veneer lumber, farm forestry, honey production, firewood and carbon sequestration. Eucalypts are also widely planted in parks in urban areas.

After five years of searching for natural enemies to control the beetle, the Tasmanian parasitoid wasp, Eadya daenerys, looks to be the best candidate. The research team is now preparing a submission to the Environmental Protection Authority for permission to release the wasp in New Zealand.

Watch a video about biocontrol of the eucalyptus tortoise beetle or find out more about biocontrol.