Parthenium hysterophorus is a highly destructive weed that has crossed continents, and is spreading rapidly in both rural and urban landscapes across Pakistan.
A variety of methodologies have been used to control its spread but no single management option is adequate to manage parthenium. Therefore, there is a need to integrate various management options.
Successful management of this weed can only be achieved through an integrated approach with biological control as the key element.
With this in mind, CABI’s centre in Pakistan, organised a one-day training workshop titled ‘Rearing Techniques for Listronotus setosipennis (Stem Boring Weevil) in Pakistan.’ This activity was held on part of CABI’s PlantwisePlus programme.
The participants, who attended the workshop, were from research institutes and academia from four universities. These included University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF), Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, University of Swabi, and the Agricultural Research Institute, Tarnab, Peshawar. Also in attendance were newly joined research interns from two agriculture universities.
The workshop started with welcoming remarks by Dr Naeem Aslam, Country Coordinator, PlantwisePlus programme. He welcomed the participants in the workshop and appreciated the support provided by the institution for strengthening the biocontrol programme for parthenium in Pakistan.
Serious socio-economic threat
He stated that Parthenium hysterophorus L. poses a serious environmental and socio-economic threat in Pakistan. He added that Parthenium hysterophorus was identified as a priority for control in Pakistan and an integrated control programme has been launched against this invasive weed.
Speaking on the occasion, Abdul Rehman, Deputy Director Programme, CABI outlined the identification, impacts, and management of Parthenium hysterophorus.
He said CABI, through its Action on Invasive programme, has established a quarantine facility for the screening of complementary biological control agents not yet in Pakistan against parthenium and other invasive weeds in the country.
Importation of Listronotus setosipennis
With this quarantine facility, the importation of the Stem Boring Weevil, Listronotus setosipennis (Hustache) was possible and host range testing is underway. The biological control of parthenium in Pakistan is still at an early stage, and considerable effort is required to fill the management toolbox for this invasive weed.
Dr Philip Weyl, Head of Weed Biological Control, based at CABI’s centre in Switzerland, also gave a detailed presentation on rearing techniques for Listronotus setosipennis through rearing protocol and field visit.
The workshop embraced practical work on designing some initial research work on its biology, field release and impact evaluation to strengthen the biological control programme on parthenium. The participants were also trained on the rearing techniques of Listronotus setosipennis in the Quarantine IPPC-PEQ-2 Facility.
Main image: Practical activity in the laboratory on the culturing of Listronotus setosipennis (Credit: CABI).
Mr Fazl Ullah – Entomologist In-charge Biocontrol Laboratories, CABI RBC Pakistan
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