Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Weevils Wipe Out Killer Weeds In Papua New Guinea

Date:
July 14, 1998
Source:
CSIRO Australia
Summary:
In a move that could save the environment, village economies and even human lives, CSIRO scientists have wiped out 20 square kilometres of a noxious water weed infesting the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea.

In a move that could save the environment, village economies and even human lives, CSIRO scientists have wiped out 20 square kilometres of a noxious water weed infesting the Sepik River in PNG.

Related Articles


Researchers from CSIRO Entomology used tiny weevils as biological control agents to control a massive outbreak of the exotic Latin American weed, water hyacinth, that was threatening the river, the villages which depend on it and the natural environment of PNG.

The project, funded by AusAID, is a fresh triumph for Australia's "six-legged ambassadors" - tiny benign insects now saving crops, family livelihoods, industries and ecosystems around the Asia Pacific region.

Water hyacinth infestations clogging up the Sepik River wetlands were causing great hardship to people using the rivers and streams to move around the country - like a road network.

According to Mr Mic Julien from CSIRO Entomology, the release of biological control agents such as weevils dramatically reduced the areas covered by the weed.

"Over the past five years, we have released 450,000 weevils and reduced infestations from 27 square kilometres to just seven," Mr Julien says.

The Sepik River system is a major waterway in PNG. Water hyacinth was first recorded in the Lower Sepik River floodplain in 1984 and spread quickly, infesting many lagoons and hundreds of kilometres of river banks.

By 1991, large water hyacinth infestations were severely disrupting the lifestyle of villagers from the Middle and Lower Sepik who could only reach gardens, markets and fishing by using the waterways.

These infestations also resulted in the deaths of several people who were unable to reach essential services in time for life-saving treatments.

The government of PNG realised that it was neither desirable or practical to control the weed with herbicides and so alternative control methods were sought.

"Firstly, we needed to locate water hyacinth outbreaks and determine the extent of the problem," says Mr Julien.

It was found to be much more widely-spread than previously thought with infestations in about 250 locations.

The second aspect of the project was deciding what to do at each locationand then doing it.

"A combination of biological control using the weevils, Neochetina bruchi and Neochetina eichhorniae, and some manual control was used," says Mr Julien.

"The weevils are reared both in Brisbane and PNG, and then either transported by air or boat to infested areas.

"You can see dramatic reductions of water hyacinth within five years of releasing the weevils. Lagoons and lakes which had been almost totally covered by the weed are now substantially cleared."

The project is led by CSIRO Entomology from its research centre in Brisbane in collaboration with PNG's Department of Agriculture and Livestock. The project operates from two locations in PNG, the project headquarters in Port Moresby and a regional base at Angoram, on the Sepik River.

AusAID PNG Program Officer, Mr Andrew Pope, says they are more than happy with the achievements of this project.

Broadcast quality footage is also available showing:Infestations of water hyacinth in the lagoons and waterways of the Sepik River PNG,Research and eradication activities undertaken in both Australia and PNGCloseups of the weevils and larvae infecting the plants PNG locals discussing problems caused by the weed

More information: Mr Mic Julien, CSIRO Entomology, mic.julien@ento.csiro.au


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CSIRO Australia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

CSIRO Australia. "Weevils Wipe Out Killer Weeds In Papua New Guinea." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 July 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/07/980714011230.htm>.
CSIRO Australia. (1998, July 14). Weevils Wipe Out Killer Weeds In Papua New Guinea. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/07/980714011230.htm
CSIRO Australia. "Weevils Wipe Out Killer Weeds In Papua New Guinea." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/07/980714011230.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Watch Baby Goose Survive A 400-Foot Cliff Dive

Watch Baby Goose Survive A 400-Foot Cliff Dive

Buzz60 (Oct. 31, 2014) For its nature series Life Story, the BBC profiled the barnacle goose, whose chicks must make a daredevil 400-foot cliff dive from their nests to find food. Jen Markham has the astonishing video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) The import of salamanders around the globe is thought to be contributing to the spread of a deadly fungus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) A health group in the United Kingdom has called for mandatory calorie labels on alcoholic beverages in the European Union. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

AFP (Oct. 31, 2014) Focus on treating the Ebola epidemic in Liberia means that treatment for malaria, itself a killer, is hard to come by. MSF are now undertaking the mass distribution of antimalarials in Monrovia. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins