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PhD student

Department

Zoology and Entomology
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Co Supervisor
Jeff Garnas
Brett Hurley

Forest insect population dynamics and ecology, Insect-Host plant interactions, and Classical biological control

 

 

Current PhD Research work

 

The primary goal of my PhD research work is to generate scientific information that will lead to implementation of a classical biological control programme for Thaumastocoris peregrinus in South Africa and Kenya. The biology and population genetic diversity of the parasitoid will be documented. Some key weather parameters affecting the population dynamics of T. peregrinus will be studied. Supervisors – Prof. Bernard Slippers, Dr. Jeff Garnas, and Prof. Mike Wingfield

 

 

Background and Research Experience

 

I graduated from University of Nairobi, Kenya with a Bachelors degree (BSc.) in Botany and Zoology in 1989. After gaining hands-on research experience in the field of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and insect pest identification at the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), I was seconded to the International Institute of Biological Control (IIBC), currently CAB International to work on the implementation of classical biological control of Conifer aphids in Eastern and Central Africa from 1992 to September 1996. In October 1996, I proceeded to University of London, Imperial College in UK where I graduated with a Masters degree (MSc.) in Pest Management and a diploma in Applied Entomology in 1997.

 

I have worked extensively both in Kenya and many countries in East and Central Africa on projects related to the implementation of integrated pest management options and development of tree insect pest assessment protocols in forestry systems. In a span of about 15 years I have worked on the following research projects;

 

 

  • Search, identification and export of biological control agents for Acacia nilotica subspecies indica for Australia
  • Search, identification and export of biological control agent for Scale insects for Madeira – Portugal.
  • Development of mass rearing methods for cypress aphids, Cinara cupressivora and its biological control agent, Pauesia juniperorum.
  • Development of sampling and damage assessment methods for Conifer aphids (Cypress aphids, Pine woolly aphids and Pine needle aphids). The protocols/methods have been modified for assessment and monitoring of successful implementation of classical biological control programmes of conifer aphids in the East and Central Africa region.
  • Evaluation and assessment of the establishment of Pauesia juniperorum.
  • Determine the distribution and impact of the Eucalyptus gall wasp, Leptocybe invasa (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) on Eucalyptus species in Kenya and Uganda.

 

I have published six scientific papers in referred journals, contributed one book chapter, four technical papers/bulletins series, and 13 national and international workshop and conference papers. I have participated in a large number of training workshops related to my research work in Africa. I am a member of the Forest Invasive Species Network for Africa (FISNA) executive committee.

Scientific Publications

 

  1. Nyeko P., Mutitu K. E., Otieno B., Ngae G., and Day R. (April – June 2010). Variations in Leptocybe invasa (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) population and infestation on eucalyptus germplasms in Uganda and Kenya. International Journal of Pest Management (IJPM) Vol. 56, No. 2, Pages 137 - 144..
  2. Nyeko, P.  Mutitu, E. K. and Day, R.K. (2007). Farmers' knowledge, perceptions and management of the gall-forming wasp, Leptocybe invasa (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), on Eucalyptus species in Uganda. International Journal of Pest management, Vol. 53 No. 2, Pages 111-119.
  3. Mutitu, E. K., Otieno, B. Oeba, V., Nyeko, P. and Day, R.K. (2007). Spatial distribution of Blue Gum Chalcid, Leptocybe invasa on Eucalyptus species in Kenya. Discovery and innovation, Vol. 19, No.4: Pages 369-394.
  4. Nyeko, P. Mutitu, K. E., and Day, R. K. (2009). Eucalyptus infestation by Leptocybe invasa in Uganda. African Journal of Ecology, Vol. 47, Pages 299 – 307.
  5. Nyeko, P., Mutitu, E.K., Day, R.K., Otieno, B. and V. Oeba (2007). Farmers’ experiences of the blue gum chalcid, Leptocybe invasa Fisher & LaSalle, on Eucalyptus species in East Africa. Discovery and innovation, Vol. 19, No. 4, Pages 382-388.
  6. Mutitu, E. K., Otieno, B. Oeba, V., Nyeko, P. and Day, R.K. (2007). Farmers’ knowledge and perceptions on management of Leptocybe invasa on Eucalyptus species in western Kenya. Discovery and innovation, Vol. 19, No. 4, Pages 287-293.
  7. Otieno, B., Mutitu, K. E., Mwangi, L., and Minjire, M. (2009). Insect Pests and diseases associated with Eucalyptus hybrids clones in Kenya. A short Communication. Journal of East African Natural Resources Management (JEANARM). Vol. 3. No. 1, Pages 252 – 256.

 

Contributed Book Chapter

R. K. Day, M. T. K. Kairo, Y, J. Abraham, T. Murphy, K. E. Mutitu, and C. Z. Chilima. (June 2003). Biological Control of Homopteran Pests of Conifer in Africa. A Book Chapter in Biological Control in IPM Systems in Africa. Edited by P. Neuenschwander, C. Borgemeister and J. Langewald.

Export to RIS
Publication
Mutitu EK, Garnas JR, Hurley BP, Wingfield MJ, Harney M, Bush SJ, Slippers B. (2013) Biology and rearing of Cleruchoides noackae (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae), an egg parasitoid for the biological control of Thaumastocoris peregrinus (Hemiptera: Thaumastocoridae). Journal of Economic Entomology 106:1979-1985. 10.1603/EC13135 PDF