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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Lauderdale, Florida » Invasive Plant Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #385106

Research Project: Development and Implementation of Biological Control Programs for Natural Area Weeds in the Southeastern United States

Location: Invasive Plant Research Laboratory

Title: Updates on the biological control of Brazilian peppertree

item Halbritter, Dale

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/23/2020
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Brazilian peppertree is a highly invasive woody shrub that is costly to manage using chemical treatments and mechanical removal. Biological control of invasive weeds often relies on highly specialized insects that attack a specific target weed, which can help significantly in managing the weed. A summary of the progress made by several agencies on the biological control of Brazilian peppertree is presented here. Collectively, over 400,000 thrips (Pseudophilothrips ichini) that feed specifically on Brazilian peppertree have been released across Florida. Damage to plants in both managed plots and natural areas is becoming evident, with roughly 40% of stem tips damaged. An outdoor experiment was also conducted to confirm the safety of the thrips that had previously been determined in lab experiments, demonstrating that the insects could not survive on plants other than Brazilian peppertree. Future research directions were discussed, including determining predators of thrips, changes in native plant communities, and using thrips in combination with herbicides.

Technical Abstract: A technical abstract was not submitted for this conference.