Hyacinth bugs on their way to Hartbeespoort Dam again

The hyacinth bugs are on their way to Hartbeespoort again.

“Five thousand Megamelus scutellaris are currently on their way to Harties. This makes the sum total of Megamelus released in South Africa by the CBC over one million,” the Centre for Biological Control (CBC) at Rhodes University said this week.

The CBC’s success with the bugs on the hyacinth the past year was short-lived due to the sudden and aggressive growth of the common salvinia (Salvinia minima). The coverage of both weeds is quickly increasing.

“The new water hyacinth invasion is not unexpected. It is an aggressive invader and regenerates every spring. It is driven by seedlings and some plants that did not die last summer,” says Professor Julie Coetzee, deputy director of the CBC.

Researchers from the Centre for Biological Control at Rhodes University continuously monitor the growth and spread of both species at the dam and use sophisticated satellite data to measure total cover.

The new hyacinth bugs will be released soon to control the hyacinth.

In the meantime, the Salvinia bug is being mass-reared by the CBC to be released on the Savinia as soon as possible.

However, funds are needed for the CBC to continue with the biological weed control on the dam. Promised funding for the project did not come through and the programme will now have to rely on private donations. If enough funds are not raised, the project will have to be stopped by the end of October.

Estates, businesses and individuals are requested to support the project and donate funds through the CBC’s fundraising initiative. Visit the CBC’s crowdfunding page https://thundafund.com/project/6716626611215230 for all the information and to donate towards the programme.
For more information contact the CBC at cbcinfo@ru.ac.za