Reports from the Veld

Launching the Biocontrol Programme

This page was last updated on 5 December 2023

Our warrior goggas are already out there

It is with great excitement that we can announce our biocontrol programme has started with the supply of our little Pompom warrior goggas called Liothrips tractabilis. These tiny creatures have been given to us by ARC and the release done by our own newly trained biocontrol officers, assisted by GDARDE. Biocontrol may not be the fastest way to deal with our Pompom problems, but it is definitely the safest route to take, and for us and the environment, is most cost effective and will continue to slowly work its magic season after season.

Following our very successful Invader Species information day, three people were registered as biological control officers for the CRR. What that means, is that we have formal access to the correct species of biological control organisms and also that we have a way of recording placement and monitoring of biocontrol. It also means that we contribute to the science of invasive species control, deepening understanding of how these control mechanisms work.

Our first formal placement of biocontrol agents happened on 29 November 2023, where we placed 176 pieces of plant material containing high numbers of Liothrips tractabilis, one of the biocontrol agents for the pompom plant, at four sites within the CRR. These sites will be monitored and reported on monthly. Our longer term vision is to harvest the thrips and rear enough of them to allow us to place them early in the season on properties with high levels of pompom infestations.

Follow this link for more information: https://www.arc.agric.za/arc-ppri/Fact%20Sheets%20Library/Liothrips%20tractabilis.pdf

New growth on Pompom plant

Deformed Pompom flowers showing signs of thrips infection

At work releasing thrips