Scientists have found a natural remedy to protect eucalyptus forest plantations from a pest, eucalyptus snout beetle, which is known to cause serious damage to eucalypts.
GS III: Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the article:
- About Eucalyptus Snout Beetle (Eucalyptus Weevil)
- Recent Research
About Eucalyptus Snout Beetle (Eucalyptus Weevil):
Identification and Behavior:
- The Eucalyptus Snout Beetle, also known as the eucalyptus weevil, is a leaf-feeding beetle recognized for its role as a significant defoliator of eucalyptus trees.
- Indigenous to Australia, this beetle has spread to numerous countries worldwide wherever eucalypts are cultivated.
Feeding Habits and Damage:
- This beetle poses a threat as it feeds on eucalyptus leaves, buds, and shoots, leading to stunted growth, defoliation, and substantial economic losses.
- Its extensive flight capabilities, often facilitated through the transportation of forest products, contribute to the potential for widespread damage over large areas.
- Micro-wasps, particularly Anaphes spp, have been employed as a control measure, albeit being a costly solution.
- The need for an alternative and more cost-effective control method prompted scientists to explore naturally occurring pathogenic fungi.
- Scientists undertook research to identify naturally occurring pathogenic fungi for controlling the Eucalyptus Snout Beetle.
- Fungi were collected from naturally infected beetles, enhancing their adaptability to environmental conditions and increasing efficiency in controlling beetle populations.
- Beauveria bassiana emerged as a highly effective fungus, showcasing a 100% mortality rate for the beetles through both contact and ingestion.
- The identified fungi hold promise for developing bio-pesticides, promoting sustainable forestry practices through integrated pest management.
- The potential applications extend to other countries grappling with severe damage caused by this insect, providing a more environmentally friendly solution.
-Source: Down to Earth