A predator of the horticultural pest, codling moth, could soon be available in Australia.December 11, 2012 4:06am
Apple and pear growers are excited by the prospect of an exotic predatory wasp being used to control codling moth — as long as it does not turn into the ‘‘cane toad of the insect world’’.
The codling moth is the most destructive pest affecting the global apple and pear industry.
Department of Primary Industries invertebrate sciences principal research scientist David Williams said Mastrus wasp, a natural predator of codling moth, was discovered in Kazakhstan and had been successfully used in California and Argentina to control codling moths.
Mr Williams said DPI had applied to the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service and other bodies to be able to release the small wasp.
DPI now has specimens of the wasp in quarantine, where tests are being done to find out if it specifically attacks codling moths and whether it poses any problems for native insects.
‘‘So it doesn’t become the cane toad of the insect world,’’ the Tatura-based scientist said.
Ardmona orchardist Andrew Plunkett said the industry relied on government bodies to ensure the Mastrus wasp did not become ‘‘another cane toad or fox’’.
Mr Plunkett said if the predatory insect passed the quarantine checks, it would be a welcome tool to help control codling moth.
‘‘Just because it worked in the US, doesn’t mean it will work here,’’ Mr Plunkett said.
Codling moths are one of the top two destructive pests at his family’s 200
Mr Plunkett, who is also chairman of Fruit Growers Victoria, said having another control option was important because orchardists were vulnerable if they only had one option.
‘‘It would be nice to have another tool in the toolbox.’’
Mr Plunkett said orchardists were trying to reduce chemical use.
‘‘Society expects cleaner and cleaner fruit,’’ he said.
Plunkett Orchards uses as many integrated pest management strategies as possible.
‘‘We try to keep as many natural predator insects as we can,’’ Mr Plunkett said.
He said biological controls were already being used in the fruit growing industry and sometimes they were more effective in some regions and on some properties than others.
Mr Williams said if DPI received approval, as New Zealand had, preliminary work would be done in Victoria and then would spread to Australia’s other pome fruit growing areas.
He said the Mastrus wasp stung the codling moth caterpillar to anaesthetise it while it was hibernating under bark. The wasp then laid eggs on top of the caterpillar, and when the larvae hatched they fed on the caterpillar.
‘‘Codling moths can wipe out a whole crop if people do not intervene,’’ Mr Williams said.
Leukaemia diagnosis for Shepparton boy Travis Lamont, 17, hits his family hard.
Yarrawonga Football Netball Club senior footballer Jeremy O’Brien celebrated his 200th senior Ovens and Murray Football Netball League game against the Wodonga Bulldogs on Saturday.
The trip to Deakin Reserve pitted the fourth-placed Bulldogs up against sixth-placed Demons in a vital match to consolidate a finals berth.
Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and Deputy Nationals leader Peter Walsh are expected to make a significant and long-awaited bridge announcement tomorrow.
Sergeant Dale Simm of Rochester police is warning the public to be wary of phone calls offering all sorts of great prizes.
100 days at Tongala Primary.
Mark Grainger cannot believe his luck after suffering a heart attack on the day a new drug was approved to be administered by paramedics.
A man who attempted, but failed miserebly, to rob the Tocumwal Pie Shed is still on the run from police.
District residents judge the top releases from the Heathcote wine region during the second annual Heathcote Wine Show on the weekend.
A sporting precinct has emerged as the main driver behind merger of Cobram and Victory soccer clubs.
A top-three finish is on the cards for the Deni Rovers after they knocked off Jerilderie on Saturday.
Innovative irrigators are being encouraged to apply for a 2014 Rural Water Award and the chance to win a $2000 cash prize.
Three Benalla residents are speaking up to bring the issue of youth homelessness into the spotlight.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.