Biological control of Melaleuca quinquenervia in Florida's natural and man-made landscapes

Kenneth T. Gioeli, Anita S. Neal

Abstract


Melaleuca quinquenervia is an invasive tree found throughout central and south Florida's natural and man-made landscapes. Melaleuca forms dense monocultures that outcompete native species. Integrated pest management is an effective strategy to partially or fully control melaleuca. This strategy involves the combined use of control techniques including the utilization of Oxyops vitiosa (Melaleuca weevil) and Boreioglycaspis melaleucae (Melaleuca psyllid) as biological control agents. In 2001, Gioeli and Neal established a melaleuca biological control agent honeypot at the St. Lucie County Cooperative Extension Office. The purpose of this honeypot was to provide an easily accessible supply of melaleuca biological control agents for distribution to landscapers and the general public. An internet-based ordering system was developed. The public could order these biological control agents via the website and pay a minimal shipping and handling fee or personally harvest the biological control agents for free. During 2003, 39 participants collected or received one or both of these biological control agents to assist them with their melaleuca integrated pest management strategy. The effectiveness of this program will be evaluated in mid-2004, thereby giving the redistributed biological control agents an opportunity to build their population levels. Overall, program participants have indicated a high level of satisfaction with this program and they have indicated they are pleased to have easy access to these agents.

Keywords


oxyops vitiosa; melaleuca weevil; boreoglycaspis melaleucae; melaleuca psyllid; biological control; ipm

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283