Mr Drake Slabbert

MSc student


Zoology and Entomology
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Primary Supervisor
Almuth Hammerbacher

Co Supervisor
Brett Hurley

I completed both my BSc and my Honours in Entomology at the University of Pretoria. I love working with insects and I'm very interested in insect behaviour as well as using non-chemical control mechanisms to manage insect pests.

That leads me to my current MSc project. I am under the supervision of Prof Almuth Hammerbacher, Dr Wilma Nel and Prof Brett Hurley. I am looking at the effects of entomopathogenic volatiles on Euwallacea fornicatus, commonly know as the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB). These tiny beetles and their fungal symbiont, Fusarium euwallaceae, cause a great deal of damage to a variety of trees. This fungal species is however not the only one found in conjunction with PSHB. This is why I am also testing the effects of different fungi on PSHB behaviour. I will also be conducting field trials on Pecan trees to determine the different factors that could be leading to PSHB infestation.