The 23rd Congress of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa (ESSA) was held from 11-14 July 2023 at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Informative and stimulating talks were presented under the various entomology disciplines, including Physiology, Physiological ecology, Biodiversity and conservation, Medical and forensic entomology, Agricultural entomology, Systematics and taxonomy, Invasive insects, Agroecology, Invertebrate pathology and Weed control.

Twenty four FABIans, including research leaders (Profs Brett Hurley and Chris Weldon, and Drs Gerda Fourie and Honest Machekano), research Fellows (Drs Gudrun Dittrich-Schröder and Michelle Schröder), postdocs (Drs Mesfin Gossa, Privilege Makunde and Rosali Moffat), PhD students (Caitlin Gevers, Elisa Pal, Garyn Townsend, Harm Barten, Innocent Rakubu, Jufter Musedeli, Luki-Marie Scheepers, Phophi Nethononda and Rosa Knoppersen) and MSc students (Dylan Pullock, Harris Keetse, Matthew Jackson, Marizzane Jones, Msizi Ramaoka, and Thabang Moropa) attended and presented at the Congress.

FABI contributed 19 oral presentations and eight posters, forming a great representation of FABI’s entomological research projects at the Congress. Phumlani Nzuza, a PhD student currently on research leave in Belgium was the runner-up for the best student poster award, while Matthew Jackson won the best student presentation award. The Congress provided an excellent opportunity to network and interact with various researchers and students.

Oral Presentations

Barten H, Schröder ML, Slippers B, Howe AG, Lawson SA, Hurley BP. Testing reproductive compatibility of an introduced and native population of the parasitoid Anaphes nitens, for the purpose of improving biocontrol of the Eucalyptus snout beetle in South Africa. 

Dittrich-Schröder G, van der Merwe E, Ashmore J, Jackson M, Mbedzi P, Slippers B. Development of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tools to control major insect pests of agriculture and forestry. 

Gevers C, Hurley B, Dittrich-Schöder G, Slippers B. Admixture of two genetically distinct lineages of the invasive gall wasp, Leptocybe invasa (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), in South Africa. 

Hurley B, Townsend G, Nel W. Biological control of the polyphagous shot hole borer, Euwallacea fornicatus: challenges and opportunities. 

Jackson M, Hurley B, Kruger K. The population genetics of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in South Africa. 

Jones M, Yilmaz N, Slippers B, Hurley B, Michelle Schröder. Diversity and virulence of Beauveria species associated with Gonipterus sp.n.2 in South African Eucalyptus plantations. 

Keetse H, Sivparsad B, Germishuizen I, Hurley B. The short-term impact of Gonipterus sp.n.2 damage on Eucalyptus tree growth.

Knoppersen R, Hammerbacher A, Coutinho T. What is in the belly of the beast: The gut microbial community of Gonipterus sp.n.2 in lab and field populations.

Machekano H, Masamba W, Mvumi B, Nyamukondiwa C. Pesticide residue analysis reveals public health threat in African vegetable markets. 

Makunde PT, Slippers B, Bush SJ, Hurley BP. Host specificity of Psyllaephagus species (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) towards four invasive eucalypt psyllids (Hemiptera: Aphalaridae) introduced in South Africa.

Moropa T, Weldon C, Baleba S. Role of development plasticity in tethered flight performance of the oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis).

Nethononda P, Hurley B, Slippers B, Makhura M. Smallholder farmer’s knowledge, perception, and management practices of the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, in Limpopo.

Pal E, Allison J, Hurley B, Slippers B, Fourie G. Lethal, sublethal and behavioural effects of insecticides used in the management of Bathycoelia distincta (Pentatomidae) in Macadamia orchards in South Africa.

Pullock D, Manrakhan A, Kruger K, Weldon C. Semiochemical lures for improved citrus psyllid monitoring with yellow sticky traps.

Rakubu I, Hurley B, Katumanyane A. Host-foraging strategies of five local entomopathogenic nematode species in South Africa.

Ramaoka M, Weldon C, Manrakhan A. Patterns of foraging for protein by fruit fly pests in South African citrus orchards.

Schröder M, Slippers B, Hurley B. Thermal tolerance of Leptocybe invasa (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) gall community and the potential impact of climate change.

Weldon C.  Determining the presence and abundance of oriental fruit flies is more complex than counting numbers in traps.

Wondafrash M, Hurley BP, Wingfield M, Slippers B, Paap T. Sentinel plant research reveals two cryptic cypress-feeding aphid species on Widdringtonia in South Africa.



Dittrich-Schröder G, Ashmore J, Slippers B, Duong T. Development and application of CRISPR/Cas9 for gene editing in Gonipterus sp.n.2

Dittrich-Schröder G, van der Merwe E, Slippers B. Development of an egg activation and microinjection protocol for the application of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in the insect pest Sirex noctilio.  

Knoppersen R, Hammerbacher A, Coutinho T. What is in the belly of the beast: The gut microbial community of Gonipterus sp.n.2 in lab and field populations.

Makunde PT, Slippers B, Bush SJ, Hurley BP. Seasonal occurrence of the shell lerp psyllid, Spodyliaspis cf. plicatuloides (Hemiptera: Apharalidae), and other eucalypt psyllids in South Africa.

Moffat R, Hurley B, Fourie G. Development time and reproduction rate of the invasive macadamia felted coccid, Acanthococcus ironsdei Williams (Hemiptera: Eriococcidae)

Museledi J, Hurley B, Chikowore G, Martin G. Suitability of Pissodes validirostris as a biological control agent for European pines in South Africa.    

Scheepers L-M, Slippers B, Rohwer ER, Allison JD. The Wattle bagworm pheromone: analytical investigations and development of a pest management tool.

Schröder M, Nzuza P, Heim R, Slippers B, Hurley B, Roux J, Germishuizen I, Sivparsad B, Maes W. DetectingGonipterus sp.n.2 (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) defoliation levels using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) imagery in commercial forests of South Africa.