Parasitic wasp. (Credit: WikiMedia)
There is a killer bug buzzing around Australia that scientists are breeding as a biological warfare agent.
The parasitic wasp is a sought-after insect, researchers from South Africa even came here to collect some to take back to let loose in their country.
Scientists are breeding armies of the wasp around the world in an attempt to contain or eradicate other small species destroy native trees.
The gall wasp causes a tumor-like disease on eucalyptus trees and the parasitic wasp is one of their enemies.
In Australia our gall wasps are “under the control of their natural enemies” scientists have here rises to the efforts of the help of other countries.
Through our support agreements with Asia, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has funded a project with the University of the Sunshine Coast and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries breeding an army in Laos.
Researchers have a mission to a lab building is being built in the country and have trained scientists to breed the wasps before they get approval to release them into the wild.
The wasps have undergone strict quarantine tests and make it through the processing procedure, and two colonies have died so far.
Dr. Simon Lawson, professor of forestry in the Sunshine Coast University, hope, because the last mission is much bigger it will be successful.
If all the boxes are ticked they hope that releasing the wasps in the wild around July or August.
In contrast to the introduced cane toad species of the 1930’s, scientists now have to perform a series of tests to ensure that the animal will be sustainable in the new ecosystem, so that situations like that do not happen again.
“The invasion of the gall wasp is having a serious impact on the Mekong region, which is the reason why ACIAR is determined to the implementation of a solution to the social, economic and ecological benefits for the countries involved,” Dr Lawson said.
“We know that chemical pesticides the use of pesticides is of limited effectiveness, costly and potentially dangerous to the environment and human health.
“Biological control is one of the best ways forward is to stop further damage by gall wasps to eucalypts.
“This Australian study will assist South East Asia the forestry sector and the employment.
“The region now has more possibilities to more effectively and quickly recognize and respond to future pest threats.”
This story was previously published in the news.com.au.