Arundo donax, giant reed is an invasive weed in the riparian habitats of the Rio Grande Basin. A biological control program using specialist insects from the native range in Mediterranean Europe, including the arundo scale, Rhi-zaspidiotus donacis has been implemented. The arundo scale is a sessile insect that spends most of its life cycle affixed to its host plant, thus creating challenges for its rearing and redistribution to field sites. A horticultural technique was developed which allowed for rearing of the scale on small, potted A. donax microplants, which could later be transplanted to field sites. Female scale reach maturity on the microplants and produce mobile crawler scale, which move to adjacent uninfested A. donax plants. Arundo scale were established at 48 sites on the Rio Grande using microplants. This horticultural technique allows for movement of the arundo scale at any stage of its life cycle to field sites to conduct biological control programs for A. donax where it is invasive.
Villarreal, Joseph M.; Goolsby, John A.; Vacek, Ann T.; Perez de Leon, Adalberto A.; and Racelis, Alexis, "Horticultural technique for rearing and redistribution of the sessile biological control agent, Rhizaspidiotus donacis on its host plant, Arundo donax" (2016). Biology Faculty Publications and Presentations. 58.
Subtropical Agriculture and Environments