Invasive Plant Biological Control Program for Brazilian peppertree
Dr. Carey Minteer is Program Leader and Assistant Professor of Entomology and Nematology at the UF/IFAS-IRREC Norman C. Hayslip Biological Control Research and Containment Laboratory in Fort Pierce, Florida
Situation: The biological control program for Brazilian peppertree (BP) (Schinus terebinthifolia) launched distributions of biological control agents to control the state's most serious invasive plant. Four candidate biological control agents of BP are currently under study at the UF/IFAS Norman C. Hayslip Biological Control Research and Containment Laboratory:
1. Pseudophilothrips ichini (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae)
2. Calophya latiforceps
3. Calophya terebinthifolii
4. Calophya lutea (Hemiptera: Calophyidae).
Release permits for C. latiforceps and P. ichini were issued in June 2019. Host range testing of the other two agents is completed (manuscript in review). Biological studies for the remaining Calophya spp. will continue once travel restrictions are lifted, and scientists may safely travel to Brazil to collect Calophya.