Invasive Species South Africa - Protecting Biodiversity from Invasion - Items filtered by date: May 2016

Dates have been set for Invasive Species and Herbicide Training in all provinces around the country. The training is targeted at horticulturists, landscapers, landscape architects, conservationists, invasive species professionals, biocontrol officers, municipal parks department officials, botanists, zoologists and passionate gardeners with a superb knowledge and interest in flora and fauna.

Join our two-day training courses on invasive species legislation and herbicides.

Location & date of training for the 2 x one-day modules:
• Pretoria, Gauteng - 29 & 30 June
• Potchefstroom, North West - 5 & 6 July
• Bloemfontein, Free State - 12 & 13 July
• Kimberley, Northern Cape - 19 & 20 July
• Johannesburg, Gauteng - 25 & 26 July
• Mbombela, Mpumalanga - 24 & 25 August
• Polokwane, Limpopo - 30 & 31 August
• East London, Eastern Cape - 14 & 15 September
• George, Western Cape - 21 & 22 September
• Cape Town, Western Cape - 28 & 29 September
• Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal - 18 & 19 October

Download Booking form for INDIVIDUALS here.

Download Booking form for GROUPS here.

Module 1: Train to become an invasive species consultant
• NEMBA legislation and Invasive Species Regulations
• Landowners, estate agents & lawyers ‘duty of care’
• Control plan guidelines for organs of state & protected areas
• Permitting, compliance & directives
• Invasive species

Module 2: Introduction to herbicides and control methods
• Invasive species clearing using herbicides
• Herbicides and the law
• Selecting control methods for invasive species clearing
• Professional herbicide training

Join the network of invasive species consultants
All trained professionals will be listed in a SAGIC database of invasive species consultants ( & and will receive a certificate to indicate that they have attended the workshops.

People who attend the module on Invasive Species Control Plans will get an insight into the invasive species control plans that every organ of state (eg. municipalities) need to have drawn up by October 2016.

Did you know?
• Invasive species are defined as a liability under NEMBA. Any person who owns land in South Africa now has a ‘legal duty of care’ to control the invasive species on their land and anyone selling land, must inform the buyer of their land, of any invasive species on the property.

• That under the NEMBA AIS Regulations... all organs of state - which includes municipalities, metros, parastatals (Eskom, Transnet, SANRAL), protected areas (SANParks, all Nature Reserves), military bases, ministry’s, provinces and all state educational facilities - are required to submit control plans, which outline how they will deal with the invasive species on land under their control, to the Biosecurity Unit, Department of Environmental Affairs by 1 October 2016.

• Applications can now also be made to have a directive sent to any landowner who is not controlling listed invasive species on their property. Under these circumstances, large landowners will need the assistance of environment-trained professionals to identify species, develop and submit control plans to the government - to avoid prosecution.

SAGIC invasive species and herbicide training is an entirely self-funding project.
Booking: Booking is essential.
Email your fillable PDF booking form to Hazel at

You will receive an invoice for payment prior to training.
Entry to training: No one will be admitted to the training without payment or prior arrangement.
Cost per module: R800 (Ex VAT)

For further information: Contact Hazel or Kay at
or Tel: 011-723-9000

Researchers from the Stellenbosch University are undertaking a large-scale study of the invasive Harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) in South Africa. They are calling upon the public to assist them.  The team plan to use molecular genetic techniques to uncover the origins, route of invasion and spread of the Harlequin ladybird in South Africa.

The Harlequin ladybird, also known as the Asian ladybeetle, is native to central and eastern Asia. It is known to be an aggressive invader on at least four other continents.  The Harlequin ladybird was discovered in the Western Cape in the early 2000’s but has since spread rapidly to all nine provinces in South Africa. While many countries introduced the Harlequin ladybird as a biological control agent, the nature and origin of its introduction in South Africa is unknown.

In South Africa, the Harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) is listed as a Category 1b species on the National List of Terrestrial Invasive Invertebrates as per the Alien and Invasive Species (AIS) Regulations (2014) of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) (Act 10 of 2004).

Why is this ladybird a problem?
Multiple studies have shown that the Harlequin ladybird can have detrimental effects on agricultural crops and on native ladybird diversity in other regions of the world. As an agricultural pest, these ladybirds can feed on fruit and taint grapes harvested for wine-making. 

The Harlequin ladybird is also predatory and by feeding on native ladybirds, alters or displaces native ladybird species. Moreover, during autumn and winter, the Harlequin ladybirds typically gather in large numbers around urban developments and when disturbed, adults exude a fluid with an unpleasant smell that can also stain fabrics.

The Harlequin ladybird can easily be distinguished from our native South African ladybirds by the distinctive “M” or “W” on its head (see images) and are often found on oak trees, ornamental conifers and garden roses. Adult beetles can vary in colour from deep red to light yellow, and the number and size of the spots on the wing cases can also vary between seasons. 

Citizen science project is launched
To tackle pressing questions surrounding the invasion of the Harlequin ladybird in South Africa, the CL.I.M.E lab at the Centre for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University has launched a citizen-science project to document the distribution of this species in South Africa. In collaboration with scientists at Stellenbosch University this project will involve the general public to help collect specimens and gather data on the distribution of the Harlequin ladybird in South Africa. 

What can you do?
If you encounter a site with high abundance of Harlequin ladybirds (>20 beetles) or a large aggregation such as those typically found around households in window frames and doors, you can contribute to the project by collecting 10-30 ladybirds per site. All that is needed is that you place these ladybirds in a small, clean container or ziplock bag, note the date and site of collection, and freeze them in your home freezer.

Once you have collected them, you can email our researcher, Dr Minette Karsten (), who will contact you with information on how to send your sample. The specimens that you collect will be highly valuable to answer key questions of the invasion biology and be used in a genetic study to uncover the origins, route of invasion and spread of the Harlequin ladybird in South Africa.

In addition, if you spot a Harlequin ladybird, snap a digital photo with your camera or phone, note the date and location of your sighting, upload this information and image to iSpot, a platform for the general public to share sightings of interesting animals. Your uploaded information will be captured by the Harlequin ladybird iSpot project. Even if you only observe a single Harlequin ladybird it still counts and can be extremely valuable information!

   *  Harlequin Ladybird Fact Sheet
   *  Science feature on invasive Harlequin Ladybirds:  Ladybirds: successful invaders in small packages. In a warming world, can an invasive ladybird take the heat? Susana Clusella-Trullas, Michael Logan and Ingrid A Minnaar ask the question. Quest 11|2 2015.
   *  For more information on the Citizen Science Harlequin Ladybird, view or download the z-fold pamphlet below.

Image 1: Invasive harlequin ladybirds (Harmonia axyridis) – Photograph © I.A. Minnaar 2016
Image 2: Colour and spot variation in invasive Harlequin ladybirds (Harmonia axyridis) – Photograph © J.L. Allen 2016