KKL-JNF Helps Chile Deal with the Gall Wasp Pest 758x530.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
with a precious cargo in hand, which she hopes will prevent the infestation of the gall wasp from spreading in her country.
The Gall wasp, also known as the gallfly, is a species of small wasps which commonly infest a variety of trees including oak and fruit trees. This pest was first identified in Australia in 2000. They have since been found in India, Thailand, the Middle East, South Africa and other locations as well. In 2008 it reached Brazil, the following year it had already spread into Argentina, and last year, the pest crossed the Andes and was identified in three centers in Chile.
“We knew that entomologist Zvi Mendel (of the Volcani Center) is an expert in biological control of this pest so we immediately contacted him,” said Chile forest engineer Claudia Munoz from SAG, the Agricultural and Livestock Service of the Chile Ministry of Agriculture.
In Israel, Munoz collected several plastic bags full of leaves infested with the galls, or tissue swellings, caused by the gall wasps’ eggs and larvae. Inside these galls were also the eggs and larvae laid by parasitic wasps, which are the natural enemy of gall wasps.
Prof. Zvi Mendel, together with KKL-JNF chief forester Dr. David Brand and Portuguese colleague Manuela Rodriguez Branco from the University of Lisbon discovered that the parasitic wasp is as a natural biological enemy of the gall wasp after several research trips to Australia some ten years ago.
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