Sirex (Sirex noctilio) is a woodwasp which attacks pine trees and which can devastate pine plantations.
Originally from Europe, sirex was first detected in Australia in 1952 in Tasmania, and has since spread to Victoria, then west to South Australia and north as far as the Queensland border, despite early intensive eradication attempts. It has not yet been detected in Western Australia or the Northern Territory.
Effective biological control measures have been introduced and these currently maintain sirex at low levels across much of Australia. The most effective biological control agent is an introduced nematode (Beddingia siricidicola) which sterilizes female wasps. A number of parasitic wasps have also been introduced, of which Ibalia leucospoides is the most common. Importantly, annual re-introductions of the nematode into forests is required to ensure effective ongoing sirex suppression. This program is internationally recognised as a biological control success story.
The effective maintenance of sirex control measures across Australia is overseen by the National Sirex Coordination Committee (NSCC). The NSCC includes representatives of each state, and includes both government and private plantation growers who are operationally involved in the national control of sirex.
The NSCC is charged with the responsibility of maintaining cultures of biological control agents for annual release in plantations, ensuring the national training standards for monitoring and operational implementation of the control program are consistent, and developing modified procedures to ensure control measures continue to be effective nationally.
Funding of NSCC is provided through a voluntary, plantation area based levy on growers.
For supplies of nematodes and equipment for inoculation contact Ecogrow at firstname.lastname@example.org