Australian journalist John Upton has written a nice little piece on the Thaumastocoris peregrinus biocontrol efforts for the wider audience on his interesting blog “Wonk on the Wildlife”. You can view the blog post here: http://wonkonthewildlife.com/fairy-wasps-unleashed-to-protect-eucalypts/
After almost two years since the first release of C. noackae in Brazil, the results of the first field evaluations have been very positive. At the end of 2013 many field evaluations were conducted in Minas Gerais State in plantations of Vallourec. Mean parasitoid emergence rate from host eggs at these sites 51%. The natural enemy was also found in another 10 areas that had not previously received a parasitoid release. The greatest distance between release and discovery points was 12 km. Laboratory studies conducted by EMBRAPA Forestry and FCA/UNESP have also found egg parasitism rates near 49%. New releases and field evaluations are scheduled for 2014 in other areas of Brazil.
[Courtesy Dr Leonardo Rodrigues Barbosa, EMBRAPA Florestas, Brazil]
This just-published paper provides more information on the occurrence and distribution of Thaumastocoris peregrinus in Portugal. On this occasion it also appears to have arrived together with a predator apparently picked up in South America!
Garcia A, Figueiredo E, Valente C, Monserrat VJ, Branco M (2013) First record of Thaumastocoris peregrinus in Portugal and of the neotropical predator Hemerobius bolivari in Europe. Bulletin of Insectology. 66(2):251-256
The bronze bug, Thaumastocoris peregrinus, has now been reported as established in Portugal for the first time. This follows the first report of its detection in Europe from Italy in 2011 and in New Zealand in 2012.
Update (10 June 2013) provided by Dr Carlos Valente, RAIZ:
By the end of 2012, T. peregrinus had been detected only in the Lisbon region, mainly on E. camaldulensis. During a survey at an arboretum in the Technical University of Lisbon, T. peregrinus was also found on other Eucalyptus species, including E. globulus. However, the insect has not yet been detected in commercial plantations. In June 2013 further surveys will be conducted to determine its distribution and impact.
According to BiCEP collaborator Prof Carlos Wilcken, four field releases of Cleruchoides noackae have now been made in Brazil, three in the State of Minas Gerais (MG), where the most serious infestations have been seen this year, and one in Sao Paulo (SP) State.
Successful recovery of parasitoids from the field has now been recorded at 3 of the four release sites (2 in MG and 1 in SP) with the fourth site yet to be evaluated. This is very encouraging news since the releases were made under climatic conditions (high temperatures and low humidity) that are not considered to be favourable to this egg parasitoid. Further evaluations are being made during October.