On Thursday evening, 11 November, FABI welcomed a new shipment of Gonipterus egg capsules all the way from Australia! The egg capsules are parasitized by the egg parasitoid Anaphes nitens, the main biological control agent for Gonipterus sp. 2, a serious pest of eucalypts in South Africa. The parasitoid is already present in South Africa, but this shipment forms part of an on-going collaboration with BiCEP (Biological Control of Eucalypt Pests) to introduce further populations of this parasitoid from areas in Australia that are climatically matched to Gonipterus outbreak areas in South Africa.

The egg capsules were collected in Queensland by Australian collaborators Dr Andy Howe and Dr Simon Lawson, shipped to South Africa and processed at FABI’s biocontrol facility. Over the next few weeks, staff at the biocontrol facility will monitor the egg capsules and the wasp parasitoids that emerge. So far, nearly 100 Anaphes nitens wasps have emerged from the egg capsules. The emerging wasps will be used to establish a rearing colony for on-going projects on the biological control of the Gonipterus beetle, including planned field releases next year.  A special thanks to Andy and Simon for the collection and for helping orchestrate a successful trans-oceanic delivery of live insects.