Since hearing that we have permission to release Selitrichodes neseri, a potential biological control agent for Leptocybe invasa, we have been inundated with requests to release the wasp in different areas. We are working very hard to build up populations of the parasitic wasp to release as soon as possible, and as widely as possible.
Populations could not be maintained at high enough levels to release while we were waiting for permission, given the uncertainties around that process. Doing so now is a challenge, given winter conditions and the natural life-cycle within which one works. Despite these constraints, the population in quarantine is growing well and we are confident that we might be able to make first releases in the next month. The first release is likely to be in the Zululand where Leptocybe populations are high and in an ideal state of larval development, and where temperatures are likely to be consistently higher for the next while compared to most other regions. Breeding will continue with the same urgency, as we would then aim to be releasing the wasp in other parts of the country during the course of the spring and summer.
on behalf of the Leptocybe biocontrol team at FABI
Bernard Slippers (PhD)
Associate Professor, Department of Genetics and
Co-chair of the Global Young Academy
Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) | University of Pretoria | Cnr Lynnwood and University Roads | Hatfield 0083 | Pretoria | South Africa
Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) | University of Pretoria | Private bag X20 | Hatfield | 0028 | South Africa
Tel: +27 12 420 2463
Fax: +27 12 420 3960