From 28 June until 1 July, academic staff, postdoctoral Fellows and students from the Macadamia Protection Programme, Grain Research Programme, Tree Protection Co-operative Programme and DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Plant Health Biotechnology attended the 22nd Biennial Entomological Society of Southern Africa (ESSA) Congress. The three day programme consisted of 73 oral and 15 poster presentations with keynote speakers from across the globe, including Dr Sevgan Subramanian (International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology), Prof. Pedro Cardoso (University of Helsinki) and Prof. Ingo Grass (University of Hohenheim).

In terms of conference contributions, FABI was well represented with Dr Arista Fourie that presented an oral presentation as well as a poster about essential gut symbionts associated with Bathycoelia distincta (two-spotted stink bug) and the development of a detection assay for identifying alternative hosts of the two-spotted stinkbug. PhD candidate Elisa Pal and MSc student Byron Sonnekus presented updates about the genetic diversity B. distincta as well as diversity of stink bug species (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in macadamia orchards, respectively. Dr Michelle Schröder provided an update on the current state of the biological control of Phoracantha semipunctata and P. recurva in South Africa, PhD candidate Harm Barten’s talk focused on biological control of the Eucalyptus snout beetle by Anaphes nitens (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae), PhD candidate Caitlin Gevers presented a case study of the intricate community associated with Leptocybe invasa (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) while PhD candidate Privilege Makunde presentation focused on host preference of the invasive shell lerp psyllid, Spondyliapsis cf. plicatuloides (Hemiptera: Aphalaridae). PhD candidate Garyn Townsend’s talk focused on the initial assessment of the Polyphagous shot hole borer (PSHB) in indigenous Afrotemperate forests of the southern Cape. Finally, Dr Mesfin Gossa presented a poster about the distribution of natural enemies of non-native invasive Eucalyptus insect pests in sub-Saharan Africa and PhD candidate Pfano Mbedzi presented a poster on the population genetics of Busseola fusca (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in South Africa.