Preliminary results of a survey on the role of arthropod rearing in classical weed biological control

Rose De Clerck-Floate, H. L. Hinz, Tim Heard, Mick Julien, T Wardill, Carly Cook

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch


The rearing of arthropods is an essential but sometimes neglected and underestimated part of a classical weed biological control programme. Success in rearing is usually a pre-requisite to conducting host-specificity tests, obtaining enough individuals for initial field release or, later, for large-scale implementation. Although most biological control researchers can list situations where agent development has been stopped or slowed due to rearing difficulties, failures seldom get reported in the literature, thus preventing us from gauging the extent and relevance of rearing issues. To rectify this, a questionnaire was developed to investigate the prevalence of rearing problems in weed biological
control programmes and to classify their occurrence according to a list of variables (e.g. taxonomy, biological features, genetic issues and researcher/programme attributes). The questionnaire was sent to 80 researchers from eight countries; 65% responded, generating 79 useful responses. Results confirm that, of the challenges faced in programmes, rearing is the most prevalent (56% out of ten possible general problem categories). The most common rearing problems encountered were conditions that were not conducive to mating and/or oviposition (30% of reported arthropod cases) or development (22% of reported arthropod cases). Our results identify key areas for rearing improvement, thus
contributing to increased weed biological control project successes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the XII International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds, La Grande Motte, France, 22-27 April, 2007
EditorsM H Julien, R Sforza, M C Bon, H C Evans, P E Hatcher, H L Hinz, B G Rector
Place of PublicationLa Grande Motte, France
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Weeds and Noxious Plants; Biological Control; Other Invertebrate Culture (Not Aquaculture) biological control; biological control agents; mass rearing; weed control; weeds biocontrol; biocontrol agents; biological control organisms invertebrates; animals; eukaryotes

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