The FABI Insect Diet Room is now completed! This room has been specifically designed to provide a sterile environment where artificial insect diet can be made and stored. Although some of the equipment that will allow mass production of insect diet must still arrive, the facility is already being used to produce diet for various agricultural and forestry related projects.

Using artificial diet to rear insects enables the mass rearing of those insects and their use in various experiments. Projects that will benefit from the FABI Insect Diet Room include the mass rearing of Busseola fusca and other lepidoptera of maize, for resistance screening; maintaining a laboratory reared culture of Gonipterus sp. 2 to support various research projects on this eucalypt insect pest; and maintaining a culture of the polyphagous shothole borer (PSHB) to support projects investigating biological control options for this serious invasive pest of urban and native forests, and agriculture. Any many other projects are likely to benefit from this facility in the future.

The completion of the FABI Insect Diet Room forms part of a bigger initiative to expand the FABI Biological Control and Insect Rearing Facility due to rapid increase of projects, and thus students and staff, associated with the facility over the last few years. This is driven by an enormous need and opportunity for plant health research in South Africa that can contribute to knowledge-based management of agricultural and forestry pests.