EUCALYPTUS SNOUT BEETLE (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     10th January 2024        

Context: Scientists have found a natural remedy to protect eucalyptus forest plantations from a pest, eucalyptus snout beetle, which is known to cause serious damage to eucalypts.

Eucalyptus Snout Beetle

  • About: It is a leaf-feeding beetle that is a major defoliator of eucalypts
  • Scientific name: Gonipterus platensis
  • Found: Australia but occurs in many countries throughout the world where eucalypts are grown.
  • Feed: Leaves, buds and shoots, resulting in stunted growth and deflation and causing heavy losses. 
  • Cause: Damage over vast areas as it had a great flight capability and gets transferred with transport of forest products.

Study on Natural Pathogenic Fungi

  • In the recent research initiative, scientists collected fungi from naturally infected beetles, enhancing the pathogen's ability to adapt more efficiently to environmental conditions. 
  • Bio-pesticide for Sustainable Forestry: The fungi, sourced from the infected beetles, hold potential for the development of a bio-pesticide. 

oThis bio-pesticide aligns with the principles of sustainable forestry, utilizing integrated pest management strategies to maintain ecological balance.

  • Global Applicability: Researchers suggest that the fungi could find utility beyond the initial context, especially in countries where the insect infestation poses significant threats. 
  • Biological Insecticides: Prior to this, researchers had evaluated five biological insecticides, featuring active ingredients such as Beauveria bassiana, Metarhizium anisopliae, and a combination of Brevibacillus laterosporus, Bacillus licheniformis, and Bacillus chitinosporus.
  • Effectiveness of B. bassiana: The study's findings highlighted the exceptional efficacy of B. bassiana, exhibiting 100% mortality rates through both contact and ingestion.