Navigation Links
Insect release proposed to control exotic strawberry guava

U.S. Forest Service scientists with the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry have submitted a proposal to release a Brazilian insect to control the spread of strawberry guava, a South American tree that has invaded and degraded native Hawaian ecosystems since it was introduced in 1825 as a garden plant.

The scientists are working in collaboration with the Hawai Department of Land and Natural Resources, and Hawai Department of Agriculture, agencies responsible for issuing permits authorizing release of the insect on Hawaian Islands. Initial release of the insect is proposed for this summer in the Olaa Forest Reserve on the Big Island.

Land managers are particularly concerned about the plant because it has potential to invade nearly half the states land area, forming dense thickets that crowd endangered native species and impede access to residential property. Past control methods have been limited to removal by hand, herbicides and bulldozers.

Strawberry guava also affects Hawaian cultural practitioners who can no longer collect native plants once found in abundance in forests. In addition, it hosts non-native fruit flies that have cost the state billions of dollars in lost agricultural revenue.

Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry scientists were tasked with finding a biocontrol agent for strawberry guava to protect remaining native ecosystems, improve control of fruit flies and reduce dependence on chemical herbicides. Biocontrol agents in Hawai have been used for more than a century, including for control of prickly pear cactus, lantana, banana poka and ivy gourd.

Non-native plants became invasive in Hawai because they escaped the animals, insects and diseases that naturally kept them in check so the scientists traveled to Brazil where insects evolved to prey specifically on the tree.

Field research yielded the insect Tectococcus ovatus, or the Brazilian scale, which hatches nymphs that settle on strawberry guava leaves, inducing the plant to build a bubble-like gall to enclose it. The plants vigor is reduced and it stops producing fruit, decreasing its spread over a period of years. The insect does not kill the plant outright.

Observations in Brazil that began in 1993 and testing at the Hawai Volcanoes National Park Quarantine Facility the past six years have shown the insect is highly host-specific and will only attack strawberry guava, not common guava or other members of the plants family in Hawai.


Contact: Roland Giller
US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station

Related biology news :

1. Oregano oil works as well as synthetic insecticides to tackle common beetle pest
2. Insects use plant like a telephone
3. Insects evolved radically different strategy to smell
4. Insects take a bigger bite out of plants in a higher CO2 world
5. Insecticide combo delivers knockout punch
6. Birds, bats and insects hold secrets for aerospace engineers
7. Ants and avalanches: Insects on coffee plants follow widespread natural tendency
8. Insects giant leap reconstructed by founder of sociobiology
9. Insect gut detects unhealthy meal
10. Tiny pest-eating insect fights fruit flies
11. ESA celebrates 100 years of insect science journals
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/16/2016)... YORK , May 16, 2016   EyeLock ... solutions, today announced the opening of an IoT Center ... to strengthen and expand the development of embedded iris ... an unprecedented level of convenience and security with unmatched ... authenticate one,s identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... BANGALORE, India , April 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and ... global partnership that will provide end customers with ... banking and payment services.      (Logo: ... area for financial services, but it also plays a fundamental ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... 2016 The new GEZE SecuLogic ... web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. It ... the door interface with integration authorization management system, and ... The minimal dimensions of the access control and the ... installations offer considerable freedom of design with regard to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... NC (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... just published their findings on what they believe could be a new and ... of the new research. Click here to read it now. , ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... BOSTON , June 27, 2016   Ginkgo ... biology to industrial engineering, was today awarded as ... a selection of the world,s most innovative companies. ... at scale for the real world in the ... organism engineers work directly with customers including Fortune ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... release of its second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering ... retention in this eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Houston ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as ... the agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship ... and connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring ...
Breaking Biology Technology: