Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biological Control: Insect Release Proposed To Control Exotic Strawberry Guava

Date:
May 27, 2008
Source:
US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station
Summary:
US Forest Service scientists with the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry have submitted a proposal to release a Brazilian insect to control the spread of strawberry guava, a South American tree that has invaded and degraded native Hawaiían ecosystems since it was introduced in 1825 as a garden plant.

Strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum ). Strawberry guava has white flowers, golf ball sized dark red or purple fruit and smooth bark with light brown, green, and pink camouflage-type coloration pattern.
Credit: NBII, USGS

U.S. Forest Service scientists with the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry have submitted a proposal to release a Brazilian insect to control the spread of strawberry guava, a South American tree that has invaded and degraded native Hawaiían ecosystems since it was introduced in 1825 as a garden plant.

The scientists are working in collaboration with the Hawaií Department of Land and Natural Resources, and Hawaií Department of Agriculture, agencies responsible for issuing permits authorizing release of the insect on Hawaiían Islands. Initial release of the insect is proposed for this summer in the Ola'a Forest Reserve on the Big Island.

Land managers are particularly concerned about the plant because it has potential to invade nearly half the state's land area, forming dense thickets that crowd endangered native species and impede access to residential property. Past control methods have been limited to removal by hand, herbicides and bulldozers.

Strawberry guava also affects Hawaiían cultural practitioners who can no longer collect native plants once found in abundance in forests. In addition, it hosts non-native fruit flies that have cost the state billions of dollars in lost agricultural revenue.

Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry scientists were tasked with finding a biocontrol agent for strawberry guava to protect remaining native ecosystems, improve control of fruit flies and reduce dependence on chemical herbicides. Biocontrol agents in Hawaií have been used for more than a century, including for control of prickly pear cactus, lantana, banana poka and ivy gourd.

Non-native plants became invasive in Hawaií because they escaped the animals, insects and diseases that naturally kept them in check so the scientists traveled to Brazil where insects evolved to prey specifically on the tree.

Field research yielded the insect Tectococcus ovatus, or the Brazilian scale, which hatches nymphs that settle on strawberry guava leaves, inducing the plant to build a bubble-like gall to enclose it. The plant's vigor is reduced and it stops producing fruit, decreasing its spread over a period of years. The insect does not kill the plant outright.

Observations in Brazil that began in 1993 and testing at the Hawaií Volcanoes National Park Quarantine Facility the past six years have shown the insect is highly host-specific and will only attack strawberry guava, not common guava or other members of the plant's family in Hawaií.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. "Biological Control: Insect Release Proposed To Control Exotic Strawberry Guava." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080522093339.htm>.
US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. (2008, May 27). Biological Control: Insect Release Proposed To Control Exotic Strawberry Guava. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080522093339.htm
US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. "Biological Control: Insect Release Proposed To Control Exotic Strawberry Guava." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080522093339.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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