Scale insects – such as the coffee mealybug and cassava mealybug – are some of the least studied group of invertebrates in East Africa. However, a collaborative effort has been made to address the threat they pose to smallholder farmers: despite their cross-cutting status as pests in all plant groups, crops, ornamentals, trees and weeds.
Several organisations* in Kenya including CABI, and in conjunction with the UK’s Natural History Museum, have joined forces to train up to 30 new extension officers whose role will include identifying scale insects and communicating theirs risks and how they can be managed with smallholder farmers.
CABI scientists have revealed the massive ecological and economic impacts that the invasive alien tree Prosopis juliflora has had across the Afar Region of north eastern Ethiopia.
Dr Urs Schaffner, who is supervising lead author Mr Hailu Shiferaw for his PhD studies, contributed to the Science of The Total Environment published research which shows that the devastating Prosopis was a major reason for losses in annual ecosystem service values in Afar Region estimated at US $602 million in just 31 years.
The soft-fruit pest Drosophila suzukii, or spotted-wing drosophila (SWD), is particularly difficult to control because of its short generation time and its very broad host range, including many wild and ornamental plants. The pest has been causing damage to fruit crop in Europe as well as North America where damages costing $500million were reported in the USA. The pest arrived in Europe from Asia in 2008, presumably in the larval stage of infested fruit. The fruit fly attacks by depositing its eggs in ripe and healthy fruit where the larvae quickly hatch destroying the fruit.
A report, written by CABI for the Scottish government, Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government, estimates the cost of invasive non-native species to Great Britain in unprecedented detail. Invasive non-native species can have wide-ranging effects on biodiversity, crop production and people’s livelihoods. A better understanding of the negative impacts of invasive species will help to make people aware of invasive non-native species, to prevent new introductions and to deal with the problems caused by established invasive species.