In February, PhD candidate Elisa Pal joined by her fellow comrades from the Macadamia Protection Programme (MPP)went on a massive egg hunt. They visited South Africa’s three main macadamia production regions which are in the Limpopo, Kwazulu-Natal and Mpumalanga provinces. For what? Not chocolate eggs unfortunately, but for two-spotted stink bug (Bathycoelia distincta) eggs. These eggs will be used for Elisa’s PhD project to supplement her colony located at the experimental farm and for evaluating the susceptibility of this species towards different insecticides. This question is crucial knowing that the macadamia industry losses millions of Rands each year because of this stink bug. Parasitised eggs, with parasitoids, were also collected for future research to study the diversity of native species present in macadamia orchards, to augment these natural enemies and improve biological control on the two-spotted stink bug.

The MPP would like to express their gratitude to all the farmers who welcomed them on their farms and to the workers who helped thems, and a special thanks to the entire MPP team who participated, especially in KZN and Mpumalanga, where it was very difficult to find eggs.