Contributions to the study of gall wasp occurrence in Eucalyptus woodlots in southern Brazil
Firewood from Eucalyptus spp. is the main source of energy for tobacco curing in South Brazil.
Leptocybe invasa Fisher & Lasalle, 2004 (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) is a gall inducing wasp species that causes damage to eucalyptus plantations and nurseries and is currently spreading globally. The gall wasp can cause serious injuries to trees, affecting growth and compromising woodlot potential yield. In Brazil, the gall wasp was first recorded in Bahia state in 2008, reaching Rio Grande do Sul in 2013.
The objective of this paper is to share the occurrence of gall wasp in eucalyptus woodlots, bring attention to the potential risks and opportunities of this insect-pest to woodlot yield and consequently to the medium-long term availability of eucalyptus wood products associated with to tobacco production.
In January 2014 the gall wasp was observed at the Agronomy, Development, Extension and Training Center (ADET) of JTI Brazil in a trial with different eucalyptus species. Efforts have been made to further evaluate the biology of the gall wasp, the distribution and influence of the attack on the growth of eucalyptus species, and to identify eucalyptus susceptibility in collaboration between JTI, the University of Santa Maria and the University of Santa Cruz do Sul. Preliminary results indicate that eucalyptus has considerable variation in susceptibility to damage by L. invasa and that there is a relation between the degree of infestation by the gall wasp and woodlot productivity of the studied species. Since eucalyptus has many benefits for farmers, efforts put together to deepen knowledge about the gall wasp is focused on small-scale farming and can result in realistically applicable measures for prevention and management in the future.