October 2013 marked the first releases of the minute mymarid parasitic wasp, Cleruchoides noackae, biological control agent for the bronze bug, Thaumastocoris peregrinus. These releases followed six years of intensive research at the FABI Biocontrol Centre, operated by team members of the Tree Protection Cooperative Programme (TPCP) at the University of Pretoria. They studied the biology and host specificity of this insect, that eventually culminated in the successful application for its release in South Africa. Rearing of this delicate insect has proven challenging, but hard work and ingenuity from the team working at the FABI Biocontrol Centre has resulted in the release of C. noackae at 27 sites across the country within the first year, with many more releases to follow. Post-release monitoring to determine the establishment of C. noackae at these sites has been difficult due to the sporadic nature of the host pest T. peregrinus, but efforts will continue to assess the success of the releases.

For enquiries, please contact Dr Brett Hurley

Photographs: The pest (top) and its biocontrol agent (bottom), and TPCP team members with industry partners at release sites in the field.