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PESTS AND DISEASES OF FORESTRY IN NEW ZEALAND

Scion granted permission to import a new parasitoid for testing

Scion is the leading provider of forest-related knowledge in New Zealand
Formerly known as the Forest Research Institute, Scion has been a leader in research relating to forest health for over 50 years. The Rotorua-based Crown Research Institute continues to provide science that will protect all forests from damage caused by insect pests, pathogens and weeds. The information presented below arises from these research activities.

From Forest Health News 250 , September 2014.

For the last two years entomologist Toni Withers has been working on a collaborative Sustainable Farm Fund project led by the Farm Forestry Association to assess the potential of a new parasitoid for control of the eucalyptus tortoise beetle, Paropsis charybdis. This insect continues to be the most significant concern for growing Eucalyptus nitens and E. globulus. For the last three seasons the project team, with significant collaboration from Dr Geoff Allen at the University of Tasmania, has been investigating a promising Braconid wasp (Eadya paropsidis) that targets the larval stage of Paropsis. The wasp stands apart from other natural enemies because in Tasmania it attacks in spring. It is also distributed in plantations that have a close climatic match to New Zealand’s cooler Eucalyptus growing areas. In New Zealand Paropsis larvae feed in spring and multiply into the next adult generation largely uncontrolled. A parasitoid that attacks the spring larval life stage could suppress the damaging summer generation of beetles.

Last month the EPA gave permission for this parasitoid to be introduced into Scion’s Insect Containment facility, where from December 2014 it will live securely and its population will be increased with mass-breeding on Paropsis larvae. Scion is currently seeking additional funding to undertake host specificity testing of the biocontrol agent against any closely related beneficial or native beetles in the same family as Paropsis.

Toni Withers

 

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(Scion is the trading name of the New Zealand Forest Research Institute Limited.)

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