BioControl (2018) 63, 349-359

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Michael J. Pitcairn (2018)
Weed biological control in California, USA: review of the past and prospects for the future
BioControl 63 (3), 349-359
Abstract: Weed biological control in California, USA began in 1940 with the release of a native scale insect on native Opuntia spp. on Santa Cruz Island, just offshore from mainland California. Since then, a total 39 weed species have been targets of biological control releases in California. Releases on 11 weed targets were transfer experiments where agents from related weed hosts were released on a new host. Most of the transfer experiment introductions failed but one weed was successfully controlled. Of the other 28 weeds, release sites for three species were destroyed and for six species releases are too recent to score, but for 19 weeds, their level of control was rated as: complete control (three species), substantial control (five species), and partial (six species), and negligible control (five species). Overall, 42% of the projects provide successful control, a result lower than observed in other countries worldwide. Since 1940, 77 species of agents have been released: 54 species established, 12 species failed to establish, six species had their release sites destroyed, and five species are too early to determine. Establishment rate was 82% but the rate differed among taxonomic orders. Individual agents were scored according to level of impact on their host and Coleoptera obtained the highest average impact score and Diptera the lowest. Mean impact scores over time showed a substantial drop in the 1980s but later increased. Future research efforts that emphasize introduction of high impact agents will further support development of this critical weed control method for California.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
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Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
review


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.
Ulex europaeus (weed) U.S.A. (SW)
Cytisus scoparius (weed) U.S.A. (SW)
Centaurea solstitialis (weed) U.S.A. (SW)
Eichhornia crassipes (weed) U.S.A. (SW)
Salsola tragus (weed) U.S.A. (SW)
Silybum marianum (weed) U.S.A. (SW)
Larinus minutus (weed bioagent)
Bangasternus fausti (weed bioagent)