This blog reviews the latest products, plants and innovations in gardening. It also provides a link for my many gardening friends who are members of the GardenMessenger and Seedmessenger Yahoo groups and their sub-groups that I moderate.

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Location: Australia

I am a semi-retired UK botanical garden curator and former international horticultural consultant, who has worked extensively in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Australia. I spend part of the year in Australia and part in Europe, mainly due to family and work commitments. I earn my living from writing and editing Internet copy, articles and books. I have written over fifty books on gardening and have been translated into twenty-four different languages. I am a former UK Garden Writer of the Year and a previous Quill & Trowel Award Winner from the Garden Writer’s Association of America. I am interested in developing gardening communities on the Internet and I manage the popular GardenMessenger Yahoo group, along with its various sub-groups like PondMessenger and SeedMessenger. I also edit International Water Gardener and its associated regional web-sites.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

New Citrus Root Weevil Control

Adult Citrus Root Weevil

Two strains of a tiny worm-like nematode could give citrus growers and home gardeners a more effective natural way to control the serious pest known as Citrus Root Weevil, Diaprepes abbreviatus. Thanks to research by United States Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists, the commercial production of the nematode Steinernema riobrave has been licensed by BioControl Systems of Greendale, Indiana.

Entomologist David Shapiro-Ilan, at the ARS South-eastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory in Byron, Georgia, with Clay McCoy and Robin Stuart at the University of Florida, found the two S. riobrave strains in Texas and Mexico. The naturally occurring roundworms kill the pests but don't harm people or the environment.

According to Shapiro-Ilan, S. riobrave generally ranks as the best beneficial nematode for biological control applications against larvae of the Citrus Root Weevil. Native to the Caribbean Islands, D. abbreviatus was first reported in Florida in 1964 and has become a major pest of citrus and many other plants grown in the state. It is sometimes referred to as the Diaprepes Root Weevil.
Earlier this year, Donald Sturniolo, owner of BioControl Systems, licensed the technology from ARS. Since then, the nematodes have been mass-reared and stockpiled for future large-scale trials. These new strains also apparently have the potential to control other important pests, such as Plum Curculio, Pecan Weevil and Corn Earworm.

Happy Gardening



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