Biocontrol of Strawberry Guava
The Forest Service and the Hawai'i Department of Agriculture conducted the first field release of a biocontrol agent for strawberry guava in Hawai'i beginning in December 2011. Releases to build populations of the biocontrol agent have continued at two Hawai'ian island demonstration sites monitored by a Forest Service research entomologist.
The highly host-specific leaf-galling scale insect Tectococcus ovatus was imported from its Brazilian native range and studied during the past decade to determine its suitability for introduction to manage strawberry guava, a widespread and devastating invader of native rainforests. Unusually cool temperatures have slowed the initial establishment of galls in the field, but the onset of summer has rapidly increased gall development. Potentially reproductive galls appeared in July 2012, providing the first indication of a self-sustaining population.
These establishment sites will serve to demonstrate the specificity and effect of the agent and will be used to initiate further releases in native forests, where biocontrol is intended to slow the spread of strawberry guava and compliment other approaches for long-term management of the species.
Forest Service Partners