Gympie Landcare has done a fantastic job breeding Tingid Bugs to tackle one of our worst weed species, the Cat’s Claw Creeper vine. So much so that their Biocontrol Facility in Old Maryborough Rd Gympie is bursting at the seams with Tingids waiting to go on the attack. Landcare Life Member and Biocontrol Facility volunteer Gillian Crossley is urging people to visit Gympie Landcare and collect pots of Tingid Bug infected plants so that these little environmental warriors can spread throughout the region and do the job they were bred for – help in the fight against Cat’s Claw!
The Tingid Bug is a sap-sucking insect which consumes the chlorophyll in the leaves of the Cat’s Claw vine. In the warmer months the bugs breed faster which makes this a perfect time to be putting out infected plants. The process of establishing a colony of Tingid Bugs involves collecting infected plants from Gympie Landcare and planting them out amongst healthy vines where they are growing along the ground and also in the canopy of trees. The Tingids then move out “triffid like” onto the uninfected vines, breeding and sap sucking as they spread. Whilst this will most likely not kill the plant, it may eventually stop flowering and subsequent prolific seeding for which Cat’s Claw is notorious.
As well as controlling Cat’s Claw with the Tingids, Landcare also advocates cutting the stems of the plant where it is growing up trees to prevent flowering.
For more information or to pick up your infected plants, contact Gympie Landcare on 5483 8866 or call Nursery Manager, Tony James on 0417 754 365, or email [email protected] The Landcare nursery is open Wednesday to Saturday. You can also click on the following link to download a copy of Gympie Landcare’s Cat’s Claw Creeper brochure: http://bit.ly/Z7pCev
Photos: (left) Cats Claw Creeper smothers vegetation; (right) Landcare stalwarts Wendy Macpherson, Bruce McCulloch and Gillian Crossley at Gympie Landcare’s “Bug Farm”
(Story courtesy of Gympie Landcare)