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Fungi May Be the Key to Battling Invasive Eucalyptus Snout Beetles in Colombia
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Fungi May Be the Key to Battling Invasive Eucalyptus Snout Beetles in Colombia

Seraiah Alexander
Seraiah Alexander
May 13, 2024
2 min

Eucalyptus snout beetles are a species of weevil that feed off the foliage of various types of eucalyptus trees. They are native to Eastern Australia but have spread globally over the past few decades. In 2016, the species was reported in Colombia for the first time, threatening over 115,000 hectares of eucalyptus plantations (1). These beetles are typically controlled with a fungal species called Anaphes, but this method is unavailable in Colombia. Fortunately, recent research has uncovered several types of fungi naturally found on these pests that could be used as a biopesticide to protect Eucalyptus trees in Colombia. This breakthrough would provide a natural and effective means of controlling the populations of Eucalyptus snout beetles and defending these valuable forests.

A natural pest management solution

Utilizing pathogenic fungi to control the Eucalyptus snout beetle isn’t a new approach to pest management. Entomopathogenic fungi have been explored in various parts of the world for their ability to act as natural insecticides. However, the specific fungi required for this method would vary based on the region and particular beetle species. 

By analyzing the DNA of the Eucalyptus snout beetles found in Colombia, researchers were able to isolate the fungi that naturally infected them. These fungi were then tested for their effectiveness as biopesticides and their ability to tolerate UV light and other environmental conditions to ensure their durability as a mass-produced biopesticide. The tests found that fungi from the Beauveria and Metarhizium genus were most effective at killing the insects and sustaining environmental resilience (2). 

Future directions

Biopesticides such as the one discovered in the study have several advantages over traditional pesticides. The fungi not only have high efficacy in controlling beetle populations, but they also have minimal environmental impact and are target-specific, reducing harm to other species. This method aligns with sustainable agriculture and forestry practices, offering a more sustainable, long-term solution to pest control and environmental conservation. The study suggests the potential for similar strategies in other regions facing Eucalyptus snout beetle infestations and highlights the importance of future research to optimize these biopesticides for wider application and effectiveness. Researchers plan to conduct more tests in field conditions to develop this method further.

References

  1. Hurley, Brett P., Jeff Garnas, Michael J. Wingfield, Manuela Branco, David M. Richardson, and Bernard Slippers. 2016. “Increasing Numbers and Intercontinental Spread of Invasive Insects on Eucalypts.” Biological Invasions 18 (4): 921–33. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-016-1081-x.
  2. Mejía, Cindy, Gloria Barrera, John Alexander Pulgarín Díaz, and Carlos Espinel. 2024. “The Eucalyptus Snout Beetle in Colombia: Selection and Evaluation of Entomopathogenic Fungi as Bioinsecticides against Gonipterus Platensis.” Biological Control 188 (January): 105407. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2023.105407.

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science
Seraiah Alexander

Seraiah Alexander

Content Editor

Table Of Contents

1
A natural pest management solution
2
Future directions
3
References

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