Biological control of Hakea sericea Schrad. & JCWendl. and Hakea gibbosa (Sm.) Cav. (Proteaceae) in South Africa

Gordon, A. J.; Fourie, A.

African Entomology 19(2): 303-314


ISSN/ISBN: 1021-3589
DOI: 10.4001/003.019.0205
Accession: 066254078

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Hakea sericea Schrad. & J.C.Wendl. and Hakea gibbosa (Sm.) Cav. (Proteaceae), are small trees or shrubs that originate from Australia. Hakea sericea has become highly invasive and problematic in South Africa while H. gibbosa is less widespread and abundant but nevertheless problematic. Biological control against H. sericea started in 1970 with the release of two seed-attacking insects, a seed-feeding weevil, Erytenna consputa Pascoe (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), and a seed-moth, Carposina autologa Meyrick (Lepidoptera: Carposinidae). Both of these agents, together with an indigenous fungus, Colletotrichum acutatum J.H. Simmonds f.sp. hakeae Lubbe, Denman, P.F. Cannon, J.Z. Groenew., Lampr. & Crous (Incertae sedis: Glomerellaceae), and manual clearing have reduced the abundance, and possibly the invasiveness, of H. sericea, but large infestations still persist in the coastal mountains of the Cape Floral Region in the Western and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa. The release in 1979 of a weevil, Cydmaea binotata Lea (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), which bores in the terminal shoots and young needles of H. sericea has had a negligible effect. To enhance the levels of biological control, two new agents, a stem-boring beetle, Aphanasium australe (Boisduval) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae), and a flowerbud feeder, Dicomada rufa Blackburn (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), were released in 2001 and 2006, respectively. The focus in this review is on progress since 1999 with the biological control and management of H. sericea. Releases of E. consputa and A. australe on H. gibbosa have met with limited success, the reasons for which are also reviewed.