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Completed project

Integrated pest and disease management – phase 2 (AP15001)

Key research provider: Agriculture Victoria and Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions
Publication date: Monday, November 11, 2019

What’s it all about?

From 2015 to 2019, this investment completed the second phase of research into the use of the Mastrus ridens wasp as a biocontrol agent against codling moth in apples. Specifically, this phase involved release of the wasp into sites in southern Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria for study of the wasp’s dispersal, predation and hyper-parasitism. Project activities included rearing the wasp (Mastrus ridens) and host (codling moth), pesticide testing, field releases of the wasp, establishment detection and monitoring, efficacy assessments, and communication and awareness activities.

Codling moth is the key apple and pear tree pest in all Australian growing regions except Western Australia. The Australian industry has for many years invested in research to reduce reliance on synthetic pesticides, adopting biological control options and agronomic practices to provide economically and environmentally sustainable pest, disease and crop management.

From 2016-2019 approximately 50,000 of the wasps were released in a staged approach:

  • 2016 – two Queensland orchards
  • 2017 – five orchards in NSW and one in Tasmania
  • 2018 – two orchards in South Australia plus two in Victoria
  • 2019 – one NSW orchard.

Adult wasps were evident at all sites for a week after release. In the season following, codling moth populations crashed at the sites measured, with greatly reduced levels of damage.

The research team also investigated the direct and indirect effects of common pesticides on Mastrus ridens, with some having effect on adult wasps, whilst others influenced fertility and performance of subsequent generation. This is being shared with industry to help inform spay planning.

The project team have confirmed the potential of the parasitoid to enhance the management of codling moth in Australia

Guidelines for production of the wasp and its host codling moth have been developed so that commercial producers of biocontrol agents can assess feasibility of incorporating Mastrus ridens into their suite of products.

Information about the project and its results have been widely shared across the industry, including articles in relevant industry publications, presentations at seminars and conferences, attendance at field days, and the provision of training sessions and workshops.


Learn more about the project on the team’s ExtensionAus website, including a video showing the Mastrus ridens wasp in action.

Read more about the research and project outcomes in these articles:

Related levy funds

978 0 7341 4565 9

Funding statement:
This project was funded through the Hort Innovation Apple and Pear Fund using the apple and pear R&D levy and contributions from the Australian Government

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2020. The Final Research Report (in part or as a whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation, except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).