Council releases leaf eating beetle to tackle growing Madeira vine issues
March 26, 2012
Shoalhaven City Council has joined a state-wide biological control program aimed at controlling the difficult environmental weed Madeira vine.
Madeira vine is a rapidly growing weed providing a serious environmental problem along the east coast of Australia.
Council has treated over 300 infected sites throughout the past six years in a combined program involving many private landowners and businesses including both Landcare and Bushcare groups as well as National Parks and Wildlife.
To combat the vine, Council has released a number of narrow leaf eating beetles, Plectonycha correntina, at an infected site on the Bomaderry Manildra factory.
Shoalhaven City Council Mayor, Paul Green said the beetle had been bred by the NSW Department of Primary Industries at their research facility at Grafton.
“Although the beetle has been successfully released at various sites along the NSW coast since July 2011 this will be its first release on the NSW South Coast,” said Clr Green.
“The beetle and its larvae will eat the Madeira vine before pupating in the soil underneath.
“As the beetles become more established they are expected to fly to adjoining Madeira vine patches throughout the City.”
“A shortage of available beetles has limited this release to a single site however this site will be monitored to determine the progress of the beetles.”
“The release of the biological control agent should be particularly useful in some of the larger sites that are difficult to access in the future.”
The beetle was approved for general release after Biosecurity Australia concluded that there was no evidence of negative consequences to the environment after testing the beetle on plants potentially at risk.
Concurrent research by the Commonwealth Environment Department approved the release on environmental and cultural grounds.
These approvals cleared the way for its general release across Australia after no native species were found to be at risk.