Tuta absoluta is a major invasive pest that causes devastating crop damage worldwide. Insecticides are heavily relied upon to help curb their numbers, but because of problems with increased insecticide resistance and the environmental impacts of insecticides, scientists are trying to find new ways of fighting this pest.
Whilst many introduced alien species have little effect on the ecosystems in which they exist, others can have devastating impacts on biodiversity, causing extinctions at local and global scales. However, some scientists argue that the impact of alien species has been exaggerated, and suggest that native species are just as likely to cause extinctions. Researchers from University College London set out to determine if this was the case. Continue reading
Used as an effective method of controlling invasive species, biological control (or biocontrol) is the term given to the use of living organisms for controlling pests and invasive species. It can provide an effective, environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient way of controlling pest populations, helping to restore crop yields and farmer’s profits. However a recent study, focussing on invasive cassava mealybugs, has shown that biocontrol can also have some surprising knock-on effects.
Eight oriental fruit flies (Bactrocera dorsalis), considered the world’s worst invasive fruit fly, have been found at two monitoring stations in Italy. Annually, there are several reports of this species being found in infested fruit in France, Switzerland and the UK, and one individual was found in a trap in an Austrian fruit market in 2016. This current report, however, is the first time this species has been found on agricultural land in Europe.
Whilst prevention is better than a cure, it is not always possible to stop every invasive species from entering an area. In these instances, early detection and rapid response are crucial, as management is much easier while the population of an invasive species remains small. Detection of small populations, however, can be incredibly difficult. With the spread of invasive species becoming an ever increasing problem around the world, it could pay to think outside the box when trying to manage them – could animals help with the fight against invasive species? Researchers and conservationists seem to think so. Continue reading
The South American tomato leafminer, Tuta absoluta, is a devastating invasive pest of tomato crops in several areas around the world, including Africa where the problem is greatest. Given the wealth of research conducted on T. absoluta, a recent publication involving one of CABI’s scientists, Dr Marc Kenis, has compiled a comprehensive review of the current state of our knowledge and pinpointed important research areas for the future. Continue reading