Four “Madmacs” from the Macadamia Protection Programme (MaPP), Elisa Pal (PhD), Angel Maduke (PhD), Thembeka Mkhize (MSc) and Dee Twiddy (MSc) visited various macadamia orchards located on the KwaZulu-Natal South coast from 20 to 22 July. The aim of the visit was to collect stink bugs for Thembeka’s MSc project that will be used to identify alternative plant host via molecular analyses of their gut content. Multiple macadamia orchards which are part of the CropWatch Africa and MaPP Ambrosia and Bark beetle survey were also inspected for any beetle damage. Most orchards visited were healthy with very few trees with beetle damage. In orchards where some beetle damage was observed, previous history of Phytophtora root rot has been recorded. This suggests that the beetles are likely attacking stressed trees, which is good news for the macadamia industry for now!

A huge thank you to Karen Carlton-Shields and Luke Jenkins who kept the ‘stinky bugs’ for us, and also to CropWatch Africa along with the involved farmers for giving access to the monitored orchards.