BIOLOGICAL CONTROL OF MELALEUCA QUINQUENERVIA IN SOUTHERN FLORIDA
Location: Invasive Plant Research Laboratory
Project Number: 6629-22000-011-03
Start Date: May 26, 2009
End Date: May 26, 2014
Culture biological control agents of melaleuca, Old-world climbing fern and air potato in the laboratory, glasshouse, screenhouse and nurseries and make repeated field release in melaleuca, Old-world climbing fern, and air potato infested areas in Miami-Dade County, assess their establishment and impact (biocontrol efficacy) on the invasive plant populations in released sites.
Potted invasive plants will be cultured in glasshouse, screenhouse and nurseries for use in rearing biocontrol insects. Colonies of the biocontrol insects (weevil, psyllids, stem galling flies, moth, and beetle) will be be maintained in several screenhouse and walk-in screen cages. Healthy potted individuals of invasive plants will be introduced into the cages or rearing laboratory to allow the insects to transfer, establish and multiply on the plants for 2-4 weeks. Then these plants are enclosed in psyllid proof screens, number of neonates/adults will be estimated, transported to the field, plants/plant parts are removed from the pots, and then placed in the infested stands for the insects to be transferred to the adjacent trees/vines. This general approach with appropriate modifications (for each biocontrol agents) will be used for melaleuca, Old-world climbing fern, and air potato. Establishment and their impact on release sites and other permanent plots will be monitored on .