Researchers from the University of Adelaide have developed a trap to help citrus growers (commercial and residential) combat the Citrus Gall Wasp. The trap was developed in collaboration with Citrus SA and commercial partner AgNova.
Citrus Gall Wasp (Bruchophagus fellis) is a native pest that forms larvae-containing galls on citrus trees, and by doing so affects vigour and yield of the trees it infects. One or two galls on a tree might not affect the flow of water and nutrients in a tree significantly, but prolific gall development can quickly lead to lower fruit yields.
To effectively fight the spread of the wasps it was important to understand its lifecycle and where and when intervention is most effective.
Lead researcher Dr Maryam Yazdani (now a research scientist CSIRO Health and Biosecurity) worked with Dr John Carragher (University of Adelaide, Agriculture Food and Wine), to develop a mixture of citrus tree volatiles that act as a lure to attract the wasp before they lay their eggs in the young green stems of the trees. John captured and identified the volatile compounds, whilst Maryam did all the behavioural tests to see whether the wasps were attracted or repelled by them alone or in different combinations.
Citrus Gall Wasp on green stem
“It’s been wonderful to be involved in a number of food products getting to market but it’s a dream come true to have a product in Bunnings!”, according to John Carragher.
The University of Adelaide has submitted a patent application for the citrus tree volatile mix, and the technology has been licensed to AgNova to develop and commercialise the trap technology.