𝐂𝐚𝐭𝐬 𝐂𝐥𝐚𝐰 𝐂𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐩𝐞𝐫 (CCC) is a long lived perennial vine native to Central and South America. It was introduced into Australia as an ornamental garden plant because of its vigourous growth and large, bright yellow, bell-shaped flowers it produces in spring. The vine produces papery-winged seeds that are spread by wind and water. The vine only flowers and set seed once the runners reach the tree canopy.
You will most likely see CCC in the Burnett smothering trees and carpeting the ground in the riparian areas. This transforms the entire landscape; young native plants can not establish, preventing biodiversity and the mature tall trees eventually perish causing bank instability and leaving high levels of erosion and sedimentation.
In addition to physical and chemical control another control method is to introduce a biological control agent. The 𝐉𝐞𝐰𝐞𝐥 𝐁𝐞𝐞𝐭𝐥𝐞 is a biocontrol agent for CCC released in Australia since 2012. It is host specific, meaning it only eats, lives and reproduces on CCC vine. The adult beetles feed on the young leaves while the larvae mine within the larger basal leaves. The leaf mining can destroy entire leaves and eventually cause leaves to drop. Large populations of insects will reduce the vines vigour, making it less productive and reduce its ability to flower and produce seed pods. CCC has an extensive tuber system under the ground, making it very hard to eradicate.
Burnett Catchment Care Association are currently breeding 𝐉𝐞𝐰𝐞𝐥 𝐁𝐞𝐞𝐭𝐥𝐞𝐬 at the biocontrol facility at the Monto State High School. The first release of Jewel Beetles has started and landholder that expressed interest will be contact over the next few weeks. If you are interested in being involved in the program send us an email as we are planning another round of breeding Jewel Beetles in spring/summer at the end of this year – [email protected]
This project ‘Bugs, Beetles & Biocontrol- Transforming landscapes in the Burnett through innovative management practices’ is supported by BCCA, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.