Insect pests of cultivated and wild olives, and some of their natural enemies, in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

Mkize, N. (2009) Insect pests of cultivated and wild olives, and some of their natural enemies, in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. PhD thesis, Rhodes University.




This thesis has two focuses. The first problem facing the olive industry in the Eastern Cape is the growers’ perceptions of both what the industry will provide them and what a pest management program might entail. The second focus is the biology of olive pests in the Eastern Cape in terms of understanding their populations and their natural enemies on private farms, with future hopes of understanding how Integrated Pest Management strategies can be developed for this crop. Eastern Cape private farmers, small-scale farmers and workers from agricultural training institutions were interviewed regarding the history and cultivation of the local olive crop. Only one commercially viable olive grove was identified; other groves were small, experimental pilot ventures. The introduction of olives to small-scale farmers and agricultural training schools was generally a top-down initiative that led to a lack of sense of ownership and the trees being neglected. Other problems included poor human capital; poor financial capital; lack of adequate support; lack of knowledge transfer and stability; lack of communication and evaluation procedures of the project; miscommunication; and finally, olive pests. Apart from hesitancy to plant at a commercial scale, the main problem facing private farmers (Varnam Farm, Hewlands Farm and Springvale Farm) was pests. Therefore an investigation of pests from private farms was conducted ranging from collection of cultivated and wild olive fruit and flea beetle larvae for parasitism, trapping systems both for fruit flies and olive flea beetle adults. A survey of olive fruits yielded larval fruit flies of the families Tephritidae (Bactrocera oleae (Rossi), B. biguttula (Bezzi) and Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann)) and Drosophilidae (Drosophila melanogaster (Meigen)) from wild olives (O. europaea cuspidata (Wall. ex G. Don) Cif.) but none from cultivated olives (O. e. europaea L.). Braconid wasps (Opiinae and Braconinae) were reared only from fruits containing B. oleae and B. biguttula. This suggests that B. oleae is not of economic significance in the Eastern Cape, perhaps because it is controlled to a significant level by natural enemies, but B. biguttula may be a potential economic pest. A survey of adult fruit flies using ChamP traps baited with ammonium bicarbonate and spiroketal capsules and Sensus trap baited with methyl eugenol and Questlure confirmed the relative importance of B. biguttula over B. oleae. ChamP traps were over 50 times better than Sensus traps for mass trapping of B. biguttula but both were ineffective for trapping B. oleae and C. capitata. Six indigenous flea beetles of the genus Argopistes Motschulsky (Chrysomelidae: Alticinae) were found, three described by Bryant in 1922 and 1944 and three new species. Their morphology was investigated by scanning electron microscopy and mutivariate morphometric analysis. The leaf-mining larvae are pests of wild and cultivated olives in South Africa and threaten the local olive industry. At Springvale Farm, A. oleae Bryant and A. sexvittatus Bryant preferred the upper parts of trees, near new leaves. Pseudophanomeris inopinatus (Blkb.) (Braconidae) was reared from 23 Argopistes larvae. The beetle larvae might not be controlled to a significant level by natural enemies because the rate of parasitism was low. The olive flea beetles showed no attraction to traps containing various volatile compounds as baits. The lace bug, Plerochila australis Distant (Tingidae), was sometimes a pest. It showed a preference for the underside of leaves on the lower parts of the trees. A moth, Palpita unionalis Hübner (Crambidae), was reared in very low numbers and without parasitoids. A twig-boring beetle larva, chalcidoid parasitoids and seed wasps of the families Eurytomidae, Ormyridae and Eupelmidae were also recorded.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Olives; olive fruit; olive flea beetle; natural enemies; olive diseases and pests; farmers' perceptions; Eastern Cape; South Africa
Subjects:Q Science > QL Zoology > Invertebrates > Insects
S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Zoology & Entomology
Supervisors:Villet, M. H. (Prof.)
ID Code:1613
Deposited By: Nicolene Mvinjelwa
Deposited On:26 Apr 2010 12:34
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:21
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