Information & resources about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld

Much legislation exists concerning pests, diseases and their control. This can include DIY, "natural" or "organic" treatments. Furthermore, laws change regularly, with some products being withdrawn, new ones introduced or conditions of use changing.
Material on this website is intended for general information and research. It is not necessarily up-to-date or directly applicable to your circumstances. Your local garden centre should be able to suggest suitable treatments for common problems in home gardens in your area. If in doubt, consult a relevant authority to check which regulations currently apply to you.
Carefully read the label of any products you purchase and always follow the directions.


Pests and diseases

This page is intended to provide information about general approaches to pest and disease control (emphasising organic or low-toxic techniques) plus some information about some types of common pests and diseases of garden plants in Queensland.

For information on particular plants, go to the part of the site dealing with that plant or group. See: List of Plants


Dingo link to weeds

Overgrazing is not the only cause of woody shrub invasion into semi-arid Australia, a new study finds. Comparison of habitats either side of the dingo fence in outback NSW showed a proliferation of woody species in the absence of dingoes. It's believed that foxes and feral cats reduce numbers of small mammals which eat the shrub seed, thus preventing its germination. Exclusion of dingoes removes a way of controlling these feral predators. Source: Detective work across dingo fence reveals new factor in woody shrub invasion (December 2016)

Older news at bottom of page.


Suppliers of garden pest or disease control products & equipment to Qld

Most garden centres will carry a range of pest control products for common garden problems in your area. Specialist nurseries might carry products particularly suited to the types of plants they carry. Check the appopriate page for a specialist nursery (List of Plants).

If you require a contractor to treat pest or disease problems in the garden, try Gardeners / Maintenance Services, Lawnmowing Services, Turf Specialists or Arborists

Fruit Fly Attractant

Wild May Essential Oils
P.O. Box 5032
Mt Gravatt East, Qld 4122
Ph: (07) 3843 6629
The Wild May fruit fly control system uses a special lure to the trap the male Queensland fruit fly (including immature males), thereby interrupting the reproductive cycle without sprays.

Wild May is easy to use and suitable for the home garden as well as on farms. It's pesticide free and BFA registered, so it's allowable in organic systems.

Ask for Wild May Fruit Fly Attractant at garden centres and produce agents throughout Queensland.

For the most up-to-date information on opening hours, items in stock, prices etc, be sure to contact the business directly. The above list may include online retailers and mail order suppliers.

If you sell items to help Qlders with garden pests and you would like to advertise on this page, go to: Advertising information.

More Online Information

You might find additional information on particular plants on the page dealing with that plant or group. For a menu, go to Plants


APVMA - Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (previously National Registration Authority)
Public Chemical Registration Information System APVMA's searchable database of registered products
NB: In the case of major brands of garden chemicals, also try checking the company websites for more information on specific products
Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry including Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service
DEEDI Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (incorporating the former Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries)
PAN Pesticide Database Pesticide Action Network, North America
Plant Disease Diagnosis American Phytopathological Society

Controlling Pests & Diseases - General

Managing a garden the natural way Department of Agriculture Western Australia
Natural alternatives to synthetic chemicals Department of Agriculture Western Australia

Cultural methods
Using Cultural Pest Control Methods Backyard Gardener column, August 4, 2004. Arizona Cooperative Extension, University of Arizona
Cultural Control of Plant Disease Overview of general approach. University of Florida
Farm hygiene for vegetable crops Dept Primary Industries & Fisheries, Queensland
Preventing Plant Diseases - Don't Forget Sanitation! Missouri Environment and Garden, University of Missouri
Prevention of viral disease transmission on tools The Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia
Insect Traps and Barriers Cornell University Cooperative Extension (PDF)
Pruning (as an aspect of pest & disease management) Online Information Service for Non-Chemical Pest Management in the Tropics (OISAT)
Bug Vacuums for Organic Crop Protection Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas, USA

Physical barriers
Netting Information on how to net trees safely with respect to wildlife, from Bat Conservation & Rescue Qld. Inc.
To net or not to net Download a PDF report on netting against birds, bats and insects from this page. Qld DPI
Bagging fruits Online Information Service for Non-Chemical Pest Management in the Tropics (OISAT)
Grease bands Royal Horticultural Society, UK

Beneficial Organisms
Beneficial organisms in the home garden Department of Agriculture Western Australia
White collared ladybird predator in vegetable crops Dept Primary Industries & Fisheries, Queensland
ladybirds University of Florida

Companion planting, Trap crops, Allelopathy
The Myth of Companion Plantings Washington State University (PDF)
2006 Companion Plant Trials Yard and Garden News, University of Minnesota
Companion Planting: Basic Concept and Resources Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas, USA
Companion Planting Cornell University Cooperative Extension (PDF)
Marigolds and Nematode Management Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
Marigolds Iowa State University
Fighting weeds naturally Scientists researching the use of allelopathic compounds to combat weeds
The importance of allelopathy in breeding new cultivars in: Weed Management for Developing Countries, Food and Agriculture Oganisation of the United Nations
Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh. (River Red Gum) Water for a healthy country
Plants Inhibit Growth of Other Plants University of Illinois Extension

Sprays and other treatments
Remember, read the label carefully and always follow the directions. The following links are intended as background information only, as legally permissable formulations, application rates, withholding periods and so forth may vary from one jurisdiction to another and are constantly being reviewed.
Insecticides Some general information concerning the types of insecticides from University of Sydney
An array of sprayers for pesticides Charlotte County Cooperative Extension Service
Nonchemical Disease Control Colorado State University
What are Fungicides? American Phytopathological Society
Horticultural Oil Sprays Introductory article. Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
Using Oil Sprays for Insect Pest Management Cornell University Cooperative Extension (PDF)
Material fact sheets - oils Cornell University
Horticultural oil Univ. California Davis
Horticultural oils Washington State University (PDF)
Key Information About Insecticidal Oils And Soaps in: NFREC News, Aug 18, 2008. University of Florida (PDF)
Use of Baking Soda as a Fungicide Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas, USA
Key Information About Insecticidal Oils And Soaps in: NFREC News, Aug 18, 2008. University of Florida (PDF)
Clean up pests with soap University of Florida
Pyrethrins; pyrethrum Univ. California Davis
Sulfur Univ. California Davis
Copper compounds Univ. California Davis
Spinosad: The First Selective, Broad-Spectrum Insecticide The Connecticut Cooperative Extension System
Spinosad University of California
Spinosad Univ. California Davis
Bacterial Insecticides: Bacillus thuringiensis Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
The Myth of Compost Tea, Episode III Can "aerated compost teas" suppress plant disease? Washington State University (PDF)
Notes on Compost Teas Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas, USA
Compost Tea: A Brew for Your Garden Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
The Myth of Curative Kelp Can seaweed extracts reduce disease and improve stress resistance of landscape plants? Washington State University (PDF)
Cornell University
Glyphosate Univ. California Davis

Responsible Chemical Use
Responsible Use of Herbicides and Pesticides The Adelaide & Mt Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board
Pesticides labeled for a reason Mississippi State University
Take care with leftover pesticides Mississippi State University
Why would a pesticide not work Charlotte County UF/IFAS Extension Service, Florida (PDF)
Spray drift and how to prevent it Dept Primary Industries & Fisheries, Queensland
An array of sprayers for pesticides Charlotte County Cooperative Extension Service

Some common types of pests & diseases

Fruit Fly
Fruit Fly and the Home Garden Information and advice for Australians from the Office of the Chief Plant Protection Officer, Federal Government
Queensland fruit fly in rare fruit Qld Dept of Primary Industries & Fisheries (via Internet Archive's Wayback Machine)
Nets prove effective in fruit fly control Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (via Internet Archive's Wayback Machine) (via Internet Archive's Wayback Machine)
Fruit fly and the home gardener NSW Department of Primary Industries
Queensland fruit fly NSW Department of Primary Industries

Aphids as Pests of Ornamental Plants Victoria Department of Primary Industries (PDF)
Hungry Aphids Find Succulent Garden Growth AttractiveUniversity of California Cooperative Extension
Aphid Populations May Build Up Quickly and Decline Quickly University of California Cooperative Extension
Aphid Management Texas A&M University

Scale insects and mealybugs on ornamentals Victoria Department of Primary Industries
Scale insects Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney
Managing Scale Insects Introductory article. Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
Identifying and Controlling Scale Insects University of Illinois Extension University of Illinois Extension

Mealybugs - fact sheet Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney
Scale insects and mealybugs on ornamentals Victoria Department of Primary Industries
Mealybugs Ohio State University

Mites University of Florida
Mites on Ornamental Plants University of Florida
Two-spotted mite Queensland DEEDI
Two-spotted Mite Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney
Biology and Pest Management of Spider Mites Department of Regional Development, Primary Industry, Fisheries & Resources, Northern Territory Government (PDF)
Spider Mites University of California
Spider Mites Like Hot Weather University of California Cooperative Extension.
twospotted spider mite University of Florida
Twospotted Spider Mite (Tetranychus urticae) Center for Integrated Pest Management, North Carolina State University
Spider Mites Washington State University Clark County Extension
Two-spotted spider mite Univ. California Davis
Eriophyid Mites Home, Yard & Garden Pest Newsletter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Broad mite in fruit and ornamental plants (Polyphagotarsonemus latus) Dept of Primary Industries & Fisheries, Queensland
Broad mite South Australia
Eriophyid Mites Affecting Ornamental Plants Department of Primary Industries, Victoria (PDF)

Links moved to Thrips page

Lace Bugs
Lace Bugs University of Florida
Lace Bugs University of California
Lace Bugs on Ornamental Plants University of Florida
For Azalea Lace, Bug, go to the Azaleas page

Nematodes in the home garden Dept Primary Industries & Fisheries, Queensland
Alternatives to nematicides in fruit and vegetable crops Dept Primary Industries & Fisheries, Queensland
Nematodes: Alternative Controls National Center for Appropriate Technology (USA)
Plan Ahead For Effective Garden Nematode ControlUniversity of California Cooperative Extension
Root knot disease and its control NSW Department of Primary Industries
Marigolds and Nematode Management Backyard Gardener column, June 16, 2004. Arizona Cooperative Extension, University of Arizona
Root Knot Nematodes Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
soil-inhabiting nematodes University of Florida

Whitefly Department of Agriculture Western Australia
Introduction to whiteflies University of Florida
Whiteflies Cornell University Cooperative Extension (PDF)
Whileflies Can Spread Disease Univ. Florida (PDF)

Root rots and other soil-borne diseases
Soil-borne Diseases in the Home Garden Department of Agriculture Western Australia
Damping-off Diseases in the Garden University of California
Sustainable Management of Soil-borne Plant Diseases Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas, USA
Root Rot Diseases of Ornamentals University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service
Phytophthora root rot Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney
Phytophthora root rot Royal Horticultural Society, UK
Root Injury May Cause Tree Failure Many Years LaterUniversity of California Cooperative Extension
Flooding Effects on Trees University of Minnesota
Forest Health Protection - Hazard Trees Links to a variety of information at the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service website

Powdery Mildew
Powdery Mildew Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney
Watch for Powdery Mildew Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
Powdery Mildew on Ornamentals University of California
Powdery Mildew on Vegetables University of California

See also the Lawn page for more on weeds of turf
Weeds section of the Qld Dept of Primary Industries website dealing with weeds, including information on declared weeds
Weeds Australia National Weeds Strategy
Weed control for successful plant establishment NRM Facts, Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Queensland (PDF)
Weed control options in landscape beds and groundcovers University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA (PDF)
How long do weed seeds survive in the soil? Extension Service Garden Hints, Oregon State University
Residual Roundup Damage Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory, Purdue University

Common insect pests of native plants in home gardens Department of Agriculture Western Australia
Common House Plant Disorders University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service
Psyllids and their control Department of Primary Industries, Victoria
Psyllids University of California Davis
What is a True Bug? Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
Green stink bug (Plautia affinis) Queensland Primary Industries
Rutherglen bug, grey cluster bug (Nysius vinitor, Nysius clevelandensis) Queensland Primary Industries
Anthracnose University of California
Cutworm Qld DPI
Cutworms Cornell University Cooperative Extension (PDF)
Slugs and Snails Missouri Environment and Garden, University of Missouri
Slugs and Snails Cornell University Cooperative Extension (PDF)
Grasshopper Management National Center for Appropriate Technology (USA)
Boring insects Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney
Parasitism in the Garden Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
Dodder: A Plant Parasite Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
Keep Mice from Vegetable Garden Colorado State University

You might find more information regarding specific plants by checking the page dealing with that group. List of Plants

Older News

Steam Weeding the Cassowary Coast

Cassowary Coast Regional Council is introducing steam as a control measure for weeds in public areas. An advantage of the steam unit is that it can be used in all weather conditions, as well as reducing chemical use. It can also be used for killing mold on pathways and other cleaning. Source: Controlling Weeds with Steam on the Cassowary Coast (October 2016)

A wild defence

Wild tomatoes have some way of discouraging whitefly from settling on the surface of the plant, a study has shown. When pest was given a choice, they were 80% more likely to settle on the commercial variety 'Elegance' than wild type Lycopersicon pimpinellifolium. Such resistance is part of reason for popularity of wild and heritage varieties amongst home gardeners, but yields are too low for large-scale production. Researchers suggest returning some of these genes back into commercial varieties and emphasis the importance of preserving wild species. Source: Breeding wildness back into our fruit and veggies (February, 2016)

Clay sprays have potential

Kaolin (aluminosilicate clay) has been shown to have insecticidal properties in temperate regions, but this was largely untested in the tropics until Columbian researchers studied greenhouse whitefly on bean. They found that kaolin treatment was nearly as effective as synthetic chemical insecticides, Furthermore, a high application rate reduced transpiration and increased chlorophyll content compared to untreated plants, which could also make it useful in times of drought stress. Source: Kaolin effectively controls whitefly in beans (January, 2016)

Weeds a window on origins of agriculture

Discovery of weeds typical of cultivated soils, along with cereal species and grinding tools at an ancient settlement on the shore of the Sea of Galilee now puts the date for the origins of agriculture to about 23,000 years ago , some 11,000 years earlier than previously thought. Source: International collaboration uncovers proof of earliest small-scale agricultural cultivation (July, 2015)

Fighting plant disease with nanoparticles

Silver nanoparticles are an emerging new anti-fungal treatment for plants. Researchers in the USA have found that silver nanoparticles prepared with an extract of wormwood (Artemisia sp.) are effective against Phytophthora. They say that it works on all stages of the pathogen's life cycle without affecting plant growth. The multiple modes of action means development of resistance is unlikely. Source: Researchers Find a "Silver Bullet" to Kill a Fungus That Affects More Than 400 Plants and Trees. (May, 2015)

Sound as pest control

Test plants exposed to recordings of feeding vibrations later showed greater production of mustard oils when fed on by actual caterpillars. Other types of vibrations did not increase these chemical defences. Besides revealing new ways that plants interact with their environment, the research points to ways that natural defences might be stimulated by growers. Source: Plants Respond to Leaf Vibrations Caused by Insects' Chewing, MU Study Finds (July 2014)


Exposed complex mixture of plant aromas in a greenhouse of tomato plants, confused whitefly had trouble feeding in a UK study. The effect was temporary (no more than 15 hours), but could point to ways to delay attack until plant defenses can be activated. Source: Whitefly confused by cacophony of smells (April 2014)

Tarantula venom insecticide potential

University of Queensland (UQ) researchers have found a component of Australian tarantula venom that's highly toxic to some insect pests including cotton bollworm and termites. It's possible that new environmentally-friendly insecticides could be based on the discovery. Source: Spider venom to target insect pests (September 2013)

Study shows imidacloprid effects on honeybee larvae

An English study has shown that "a very low exposure" to imidacloprid (one of the neonicotinoid insecticides recently restricted in Europe) affects activity of some honeybee genes. The changes observed in larvae could reduce their ability to survive when additional stresses like disease or bad weather occur. Similar changes in gene activity reduce the life span of the well-studied fruit fly. Source: Insecticide causes changes in honeybee genes, research finds (July 2013)

Weeds don't play fair

A study of Digitaria sanguinalis, the common weed of lawns and field commonly called "crabgrass", has shown that there's more to its success than simple competition. Chemicals from Digitaria caused changes in nearby soil microbes which reduced growth of test crops. The allelopathic chemicals could also directly affect other plants. Source: Crabgrass' secret: The despised weed makes herbicide to kill neighboring plants (June 2013)

APVMA response to European neonicotinoid ban

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has published an updated (May 2013) outline of their review of these chemicals currently underway. Read it here: Neonicotinoids and honey bee health in Australia. A draft report for consultation is "mid-2013". (For more on the European ban, see news item below.)

Attracting predators with Alyssum

A Washington State University study in which sweet alyssum was grown near apple trees has shown a reduced incidence of wooly apple aphid due to the enhanced predator populations. Six different flowers including marigolds and zinnia were considered for the study, but alyssum was chosen because it attracted the most syrphids (hoverflies), the larvae of which feed on aphids. However, during the study few hoverfly larvae were found. rather, a diverse array of spiders and predactory insects appeared responsible for most of the aphid decline. Protein markers sprayed on the flowers and later identified on predators indicated they had indeed visited the flowers and so were presumably attracted by them. Source: Flower power fights orchard pests (May 2013)

Fire ant detection by air

From 1st May 2013, helicopters fitted with special remote-sensing cameras will recommence fire ant surveillance in the Brisbane region. With the help of computer analysis, the cameras use near-infrared and thermal imaging to locate nests from 500 feet. The work is done in the cooler months of the year, when the heat of nests can be most easily detected (Fire ants have no where to hide). Check the Aerial survey flight schedule 2013 online to see if there are upcoming flights in your area.

Europe to move on neonicotinoid ban

The European Commission looks set to proceeed with a controversial proposal to severely restrict the use of three neonicotinoid pesticides, on the basis of a threat to bees. Included in the group is imidacloprid, formulations of which are popular with home gardeners in Australia. According to the European proposal, home gardeners will not be able to use the chemicals at all. The proposal will be reviewed within two years. More information:
Bees & Pesticides: Commission to proceed with plan to better protect bees European Commssion media release
Bee deaths: EU to ban neonicotinoid pesticides BBC
Bees and the European neonicotinoids pesticide ban: Q&A The Guardian, UK
(April 2013)

Giant African Snail in Brisbane

A snail the size of a cricket ball was spotted at a Brisbane container yard and identified by Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) as a Giant African Snail. No evidence of other snails or eggs but follow-up surveillence will be conducted. These snails have the potential to wreck much damage if they establish in Australia, growing up to a kilogram in weight and able to attack hundreds of plant species. Source: Caught trying to escape at snail's pace (March 2013)

New weed mat a model of recycling

Australia's CSIRO has developed a new weed mat from linseed straw. Besides its weed control properties, the mat is said to reduce evaporation from the soil while allowing rainfall penetration. It will eventually biodegrade completely, avoiding environmental pollution problems associated with synthetic weed matting. Developers believe that the process, involving high pressure water to mesh the fibres together, could also be used to manufacture matting from other agricultural by-products such as banana or hemp fibre. The fabrics created could potentially be put to other uses, too, such as shopping bags. Source: CSIRO sticks it to weeds this spring (October 2012)

Beetle and bug battle baddie

A new biocontrol agent to fight cat's claw creeper is to be released in Queensland. Larvae of the the leaf-mining jewel beetle (Hylaeogena jureceki) from South America eat the plant's leaves. This species joins the leaf-sucking tingid bug in the fight against this Weed of National Significance. Source: Fighting nature with nature (October 2012)

New weed control developed in Qld

A new biocontrol agent developed by the University of Queensland could mean a simple and safe way to control woody weeds. Developed from fungi which already occur in the Australian environment, the treatment is delivered as a capsule inserted into the trunk of the tree. In addition to killing the inoculated tree, the fungi could persist to kill seedlings that subsequently emerge in the area, or even untreated mature trees nearby. Commercialisation of the "bioherbicide" for control of Parkinsonia is underway, but it has the potential to control many types of other woody weeds. More information at the University of Queensland website: Australia's first bioherbicide approaching release (August 2012)

Ladybirds aren't bluffing

The colour of ladybirds acts a warning to birds that they aren't good to eat. An Australian-UK collaboration has confirmed that there is indeed a relationship between the intensity of the red coloration and the toxicity of the insect, proving a definite incentive for predators to avoid the most brightly coloured individuals. Furthermore, producing the colour and taste comes at a cost to the ladybird and is affected by the quality of its diet. Source: I'm bright red and I taste foul - the message behind colour and the ladybird's spots (June 2012)

Turn up the heat on weeds

Most of us have heard of using boiling water to kill weeds in paving, but studies at the University of Copenhagen have helped define how such heat treatments (flame, steam or boiling water) can be used most effectively. It was found that the leaves must collapse completely after each application, starving the roots. Also, the treatment must be repeated frequently enough to prevent recovery. Superficial or infrequent treatments permit regrowth and can actually promote grass weeds. With the right strategy, however, this low-toxicity method can eliminate even stubborn weeds. Source: Blanch your weeds (May 2012)

New fire ant incursion thwarted
A nest of fire ants in crated mining equipment imported from Houston, Texas has hopefully been prevented from turning into a new fire ant outbreak. Biosecurity Queensland has praised the detection and prompt reporting of the suspect ants by vigilant employees of a Roma mining company. The nest was quickly dealt with and will be followed up with preventative bait treatments and an investigation. The equipment was due to be shipped to Perth. Source: Quick notification saves potential fire ant threat to Roma (November 2011)

Madeira vine biocontrol program underway
A beetle from South America has been released in various locations in SEQld as a biocontrol against Madeira vine (Anredera cordifolia). Biosecurity Queensland says that it's been tested on 37 related plant species without damage. Results from the first release are promising, and more releases are planned in infested areas over the next two years. Source: Small beetle to control a big problem (November 2011)

Caution advised with "non invasive" cultivars
U.S. researchers warn that some plant cultivars being promoted as "non-invasive" could still spread if they retain the ability to produce some viable seed. Apart from the total number of seed that could be produced over the life of a long-lived species, the offspring could be more prolific, especially if they result from crossing with other cultivars or relatives. The researchers suggest that population growth rate and the likelihood of a plant breeding true from seed be considered when assessing invasiveness, unless it can be proven to be completely sterile. Media release: "Non-invasive" cultivar? Buyer beware. (October 2011)

Myrtle rust detected in North Qld again
The disease has been detected in nurseries in Cairns and Townsville. Source: North Queensland residents on call after myrtle rust detection (August 2011)

CSIRO unzips plant virus mystery
Insight into how plant viruses can target their hosts so specifically has been gained in Australian research. It has been found that genes held in a satellite particle must match genes in the plant for Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV) for infection to occur. Complimentary sections "zip" together, interrupting the normal functioning of the plant gene. CMV interferes with a gene involved in chlorophyll synthesis, hence the symptoms of yellowing. Searching for matching DNA sequences may help scientists pinpoint the mechanism of other plant virus diseases and lead to ways to engineer resistance into plants. Source: Major breakthrough on how viruses infect plants (July 2011)

Beetles battle weeds
Research in the UK confirms that seed predation by beetles reduces weeds in farmland, especially grass weeds. Conserving biodiversity, possibly by leaving an area of field as a "beetle bank" in this case, may help reduce herbicide use and deal with the problem of herbicide resitance. Source: Beetles play an important role in reducing weeds (July 2011)

Sprays can be counterproductive
A German study of sprayed and unsprayed Triticale (a wheat x rye cross) has shown applying insecticides to prevent aphids had a short-term effect, but after four weeks treated fields had more aphids than the untreated ones. It is possible that the spray killed beneficial insects, or they left after the intial aphid kill deprived them of food. Source: Fewer aphids in organic crop fields (July 2011)

Ginger could be new weapon against fruit fly
With chemicals dimethoate and fenthion under review by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are looking for alternative ways to control Queensland fruit fly. One potential method involves using an extract of ginger called zingerone to lure male fruit flies into traps. Source: Qld fruit fly scientists in race against time (June 2011)

Updated Weed ID book for S. Queensland
Published by the Weed Society of Queensland, the updated "Weeds of Southern Queensland" is available from Southern Downs Regional Council offices. More informatiion: Get your hands on free updated weed identification book (June 2011)

Fire ants in Lockyer Valley
The first detection of a fire ant nest in the Lockyer Valley has occurred in Mulgowie (Prompt response to fire ant find to protect Lockyer Valley food bowl) Residents of the region are urged to be vigilent and report any suspect ants. More information at

A new wave in weed control
Australian research is working towards a weed-killing device that uses microwaves instead of chemicals. Energy could be focused on individual plants, making it potenially useful for spot-treament. It would not be affected by wind or rain or leave herbicide residue. Unfortunately, the amount of energy used is relatively high, and making the system more energy-efficient will be one of the aims of future research. More information from the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation: Microwaves to cook away weeds (June 2011)

Mrytle rust in Roma Street Parklands
Brisbane residents are being asked to look out for the rust as the number of sightings increases through the region. The curator of Roma Street Parklands assures visitors that appropriate action has been taken after rust was found on a single plant. (Be on the lookout for myrtle rust in Brisbane May 2011) However, Biosecurity Queensland advise that anyone who does come into contact with myrtle rust should clean clothing and shoes to avoid spreading the disease. More information and advice at

Natural disease suppression a complex process
Scientists from Dutch and American laboratories have found 17 microorganisms working together in soil from a sugar beet field that suppresses the root pathogen Rhizoctonia solani. This relationship, discovered with the help of DNA technology, is much more complex than found in past studies of disease-suppressive soils. The plant also plays its part by releasing food for the microbes through its roots. Source: It Takes a Community of Soil Microbes to Protect Plants From Disease (May 2011)

Where did those pesky fire ants come from?
Genetic research indicates that recent invasions of fire ants in Australia, New Zealand and Asia started in the United States, even though the pest is native to South America. It established in the U.S. in the 1930s. Scientists hope that improved knowledge of the ants' lineage will help them identify effective biocontrol agents. Source: UF study traces global red imported fire ant invasions to southern US (February 2011)

Myrtle Rust in Cairns
The disease has been found in a retail nursery in Cairns, but not before several plants from the same consignment had already been sold. Media release: Myrtle rust confirmed in Cairns nursery (23 February, 2011)

Myrtle Rust spreads in Qld
According to the 16th February update, MR has been confirmed on 34 sites including private residences. For more information go to

Myrtle Rust reaches Sunshine Coast
Infected plants have been found in a park at Noosaville. Media release: Myrtle rust confirmed in parkland in Queensland (8th February 2011).

ALERT: Myrtle Rust found in SE QLD
First found in Australia in NSW last year, the disease has recently been identified in three plant nurseries in Qld (Myrtle rust confirmed in South East Queensland, 05 January, 2011). Appropriate measures have been taken to contain the infections, but other nurseries are urged to monitor plants. Members of the plant family Myrtaceae, which includes Callistemon and Syzygium, are hosts or potential host of this disease and anyone who has recently purchased such a plant from from a nursery in SE Qld should also check for symptoms. More information and images at Report any suspect plants to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

Gums should recover from caterpillar outbreak
Agri-Science Queensland has assured residents of the Boonah, Beaudesert, Lockyer Valley and Brisbane/Esk Valley regions that local gum trees attacked by a recent outbreak of caterpillars will recover. The gum leaf skeletoniser (Uraba lugens) can leave trees with a "bronzed" or "scorched" appearence. The large numbers have probably resulted from the weather conditions this winter and spring. Hotter temperatures should see numbers decrease. In the meantime, residents should avoid contact with the caterpillars, which can cause skin irritation. More from the DEEDI here: Caterpillar culprit of gum tree 'bronzing' (December, 2010)

Myrtle Rust a threat to Australian favourites
Uredo rangelii is a rust fungus that attacks the plant family Myrtaceae. It's been detected in NSW and is of great concern given the prevalence of this family in the Australian flora. Plants on which the rust have been detected so far include members of Callistemon, Syzygium, Leptospermum and Austromyrtus. Strict quarantine measures have been implemented in order to contain the outbreak. Nurseries, gardeners and florists should take care that sourcing and movement of plant material complies with regulations, and be on the lookout for signs of rust infection on myrtaceous plants in their area. Photos, information and updates available at the Myrtle Rust website (NSW Department of Primary Industries). See also Myrtle Rust National Management Group (Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Myrtle rust (Qld Department of Environment and Resource Management) or check with the relevant department in your state or territory (September 2010)

Three species of ornamental ginger declared weeds in Queensland
Media release from Tim Mulherin (Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland) here: Three Gingers banned in Queensland.
       Yellow ginger (Hedychium flavescens) is now a Class 1 weed
        White ginger (Hedychium coronarium) is now a Class 3 weed
        Kahili ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum) is now a Class 3 weed
All are now illegal to sell or trade in Qld, while landowners who have yellow ginger on their properties must eradicate it. More information on declared weeds in Qld, the classification system and your obligations at the Biosecurity Queensland website. (November 2010)

The dingo may be forestry's best friend
Researchers at Curtin University of Technology and Chemistry Centre WA may have found a new way to help protect reforestation areas from kangarros, wallabies and possums - fresh dingo urine. Presumably warning the animals that a predator is nearby (aged urine had no effect), the active chemicals could be used to develop wildlife-friendly deterrents and alternatives to the controversial 1080 poison used by the logging industry in Tasmania. Unfortunately for gardeners, trials suggested that the Brushtail Possum may be less susceptible than the other marsupials studied. More information Curtin University of Technology here: Dingo urine offers humane solution to kangaroo cull (June 2008)

Blow-up man at work in Sydney's Botanic Gardens
An air-powered windsock is being used in Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens to deter flying foxes from roosting in vulnerable trees. The "inflatable man" is a temporary measure until the animals can be relocated. While there is no intention to stop the animals feeding, roosting has proven to be a big problem. Some of the trees that have already been damaged are the among the oldest and most significant in the Gardens. More from Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Sydney, available here. (July 2008)

Canada gets greener
With residential use already banned in many Canadian municipalities, retail chain The Home Depot® has decided to phase out "traditional" pesticides in all its Canadian stores. This includes fungicides, insecticides, herbicides and slug baits. More environmentally friendly alternatives will compliment the range of other "green" products and programs offerrd by the company. Media release here: Home Depot Canada Voluntarily Phases Out Pesticides Across Canada and Provides Consumers Over 50 Options in Natural Lawn Care (April 2008)



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