By Izette Greyling, Fabi
Two potential pests to Eucalyptus plantations are on the move, and foresters are requested to keep a lookout for these pests on both commercial and ornamental trees.
Shell lerp psyllid – Spondyliaspis sp.
The shell lerp psyllid – so named due to the characteristic shape of the lerp – is a sap sucking insect, first reported from the Pretoria area in 2014. It has subsequently been found on non-commercial – or ornamental Eucalyptus species near Iswepe, White River, Tzaneen and Melkbosstrand in the Western Cape.
Most recently however, this pest was found on commercial E. grandis trees in Swaziland, an E. grandis x E. camaldulensis (GC) hybrid clone near Tzaneen, and E. macarthurii trees near Iswepe. Although infestations at these locations were low, the incidence of this pest on commercial species raises concern over the potential of this insect to become a pest in plantations.
Eucalyptus gall wasp – Ophelimus maskelli
The Eucalyptus gall wasp, Ophelimus maskelli, is a gall forming wasp, first detected on road side Eucalyptus trees in Midrand, Gauteng in 2014. It has since spread to other areas around Johannesburg and Pretoria, and was most recently reported from the Western Cape in the Stellenbosch area. This pest has not been reported from commercial plantations to date.
Early detection of both these potential pests in new areas will greatly assist in assessing their pest status and informing management strategies. Please report any incidences of either of these pests to firstname.lastname@example.org.