Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ash whitefly

Ash whitefly is a small white sap sucking insect which occurs in both temperate and Mediterranean climates. The first record of this pest for Australia was in Adelaide in autumn of 1998. A subsequent survey in June 1998 of greater metropolitan Adelaide and important fruit growing country regions found this new pest widely distributed in Adelaide from Hallet Cove in the south to the Barossa Valley in the north. There was only one record from the Adelaide Hills and none from the country regions surveyed. Interstate surveys in late June 1998 also found the whitefly in Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Griffith, Gundagai in NSW and Canberra.

There are a number of natural enemies of ash whitefly that are important in its ecology. These include parasitoids, predators and diseases. The most successful of these is a small parasitic wasp, Encarcia inaron. In the USA and NZ, very good biological control has been achieved by this wasp. Initial surveys of the Adelaide area have not found E. inaron but as it is the best candidate, it is the highest priority task to introduce this parasitoid into Australia, after AQIS approval, if it has not already accompanied its host into the country

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