Dr Gerda Fourie, research leader of the Macadamia Protection Programme (MPP) and Dr Mesfin Gossa, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) attended an Insect Mass-Rearing Workshop held from 23-27 October at Stellenbosch University. The workshop was organised by various academic staff members from the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology and the Department of Animal Science, Stellenbosch University, in collaboration with the organisers of the International Insect Rearing Workshop (IIRW) held annually at Mississippi State University, USA. Approximately 40 scientists attended the workshop and represented various academic and private institutions from South Africa as well as Mauritius, Kenya and Papua New Guinea.

The workshop covered various aspects of insect mass-rearing, starting with examples and case studies of insect mass-rearing in South Africa, the principles of insectary design and the construction thereof, the health and safety of workers, as well as quality control of insectaries. Further topics covered included insect nutrition, feeding and artificial diets, insect breeding and genetics, modelling of environmental effects on mass-reared insects, as well as sterile insect technique. On Tuesday and Thursday participants visited Fruit Fly Africa and the Department of Water Affairs’ biocontrol agent rearing facility. During the course of the week participants also had the opportunity to share knowledge and personal experiences linked to working with insects and to establish new collaborations.