Preliminary results of a root feeding flea beetle

Netshiluvhi M. and Madire L.G - Agricultural Research Council - Plant Protection Research Institute

The introduced ornamental plant, yellow bells is one of South Africa’s worst invasive weeds. It has been the target of biological control for the past decade.

Several natural enemies have been imported and screened in quarantine, only three have been found suitable for release.

A rust fung,i Prospodium transformans, was released in 2010 but did not establish; a leaf-feeding lady beetle (Mada polluta) was released in 2013 and the initial establishment is confirmed and the third biological control agent, a leaf mining fly (Pseudonapomyza sp.) is still awaiting approval by authorities.

A root-feeding flea beetle (Heikertingerelle sp) a potential biological control agent of yellow bells was brought into quarantine in South Africa for further screening from Mexico. It is believed that if this candidate agent is found suitable for release, it will extent more pressure on the target plant as it will be targeting a different niche and complement to other two leaf feeders.

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