A new study, published in the CABI Agriculture & Bioscience journal, has reviewed progress made towards an eco-friendly insect pest management approach in subtropical agro-ecosystems in South Africa. The research, by lead author Dr Tertia Grové of the Agricultural Research Council Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops, highlights how an integrated pest management strategy should aim to reduce Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) caused by pesticide use to tackle pests on avocado, litchi and mango.
South Africa is a known exporter of subtropical fruits, but fruit production in the country is susceptible to various insect pests that can significantly contribute to yield losses.
In terms of avocado pests, for example, in 2019 the percentage loss of avocado fruit due to insect pests was determined at 12.58% according to the South African Subtropical Growers’ Association.
Dr Grové: “The paper provides details on the important insect pests of subtropical crops and the current management strategies use for controlling these pests. An integrated pest management strategy should aim to use interventions that lower maximum residue levels. A challenge that still remains is the sucking bug complex on avocado and more environmentally friendly strategies used for suppression need to be developed.”