Bitou bush biocontrol agent, the leaf rolling moth Tortrix species.

The leaf-rolling moth is the third biocontrol agent to be released in Australia for bitou bush control.

Bitou bush biocontrol agent: the leaf-rolling moth

A leaf-rolling moth was the last biological control agent to be released on bitou bush in Australia.

  • 22 June 2010 | Updated 14 October 2011

Background

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The leaf-rolling moth, Tortrix species, is the most damaging insect feeding on bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera subspecies rotundata) in its home country of South Africa.

In Australia and South Africa, CSIRO Entomology and the Keith Turnbull Research Institute completed extensive host specificity testing of the leaf-rolling moth.

Two strains of the leaf-rolling moth were collected. One was specific for bitou bush while the other strain was specific to the closely related boneseed (Chrysanthemoides monilifera monilifera).

In South Africa, the leaf-rolling moth has not been found on any other plant species except bitou bush and boneseed.

For more information see: 

Bitou bush biological control

Bitou bush is an introduced weed and rated as the worst pest plant in the Australian coastal environment, restricting access to beaches and destroying native bushland. This project focused on biological control using several different insect species.

Biological control of bitou bush with the leaf-rolling moth

This two-page brochure discusses integrated management of bitou bush using biological control agents in conjunction with conventional methods.

Monitoring for the establishment of leaf rolling moth

This brochure discusses research into conditions affecting the low establishment rate of the bitou bush leaf-rolling moth and how to monitor for population establishment. (2 pages)