During the week of 5-9 October the members of the Tree Protection Co-operative (TPCP) in FABI conducted the first national monitoring field trip for this year. This field trip was to Zululand (KwaZulu-Natal) and led by Sandisiwe Jali, who leads the biological control field extension work at FABI. She was assisted by students Lizzy Ramela and Nomaswazi Maseko. The purpose of this trip was to collect samples to assess the establishment of biological control agents of introduced eucalypt insect pests. The national monitoring programme monitors the damage caused by Leptocybe invasa and the parasitism levels of Selitrichodes neseri and other biological control agents. However, the surveys are also used to collect data on parasitism levels of other important eucalypt pests, such as Gonipterus sp. 2, Spondyliaspis cf. plicatuloides, Glycaspis brimblecombei and Ophelimus maskelli.

The survey of these pests, during two seasons per year, aims to evaluate parasitism levels over time, between different Eucalyptus hosts and between different Eucalyptus growing regions of South Africa. The collected samples are processed at the FABI Biocontrol Centre and the results are communicated to forestry partners to inform management decisions. 

The monitoring trips will continue into December, and include Limpopo, central Mpumalanga and lowveld, southern KZN and midlands, and the Eastern Cape. Thank you very much to the various forest industry partners for all their help making these surveys a success.