Beetle a new weapon against invasive weed
PARTHENIUM and cats claw creeper weeds present a constant threat to local and high-value agricultural land in the North Burnett.
The spreading of the weed and seeds allowing for colonisation, particularly after wet weather, presents the biggest issue to containing the invasive weeds.
In 2013, biological control facilities were built on the agricultural grounds of Monto State High School with funding from the Burnett Mary Regional Group and North Burnett Landcare.
Funding ceased in 2014 and that is when the council began its multi-agency discussions.
An idea was inspired by the Gympie Landcare bio-control facility, leaders in the successful cultivation of the jewel beetle, a predatory insect that targets cats claw creeper.
Gympie Landcare administrator JennyWhite said the organisation had been investigating bio-control agents for a decade now.
“We have had some experience with it and in terms of the cats claw creeper, the jewel beetle is our third insect and we have been working on it for about three years,” MrsWhite said.
“We have had mixed results but the jewel beetle has established well.
“We haven’t quite had the same level of impact but as the population builds it will increase impact.” PHOTO: ADAM MCCLEERY
The head of the catchment that feeds into the Burnett River system is north of Monto, providing a unique opportunity for riparian recovery and management on a regional level.
Each group has a role to play in the collaboration.
Burnett Mary Regional Group project officer Lynda Wills said approaching the problem of invasive weeds was multi-faceted.
“This is certainly one of the tools in the tool box for the control of cats claw creeper,” MrsWills said.
“It’s part of an integrated pest-management solution for control.”
The jewel beetle feeds on the foliage of cats claw creeper.
“They go through rigorous screening beforehand,” Mrs White said.
“Unfortunately there is no magic bullet – it’s a long-term battle.”
EATING FOR TWO: Jewel beetles have a two-phase attack as leaves are eaten by both the larvae and adult beetles.
The Gayndah washdown facility is open 24 hours in a bid to prevent the spread of invasiveweeds.