Jan 20, 2018 Last Updated 7:39 AM, Jan 19, 2018


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Tree pest outbreak hits Malawi districts

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Malawi has reported an outbreak of a pest called Bluegum Chalcid in its Bluegum trees in the southern districts of Zomba, Mulanje and Phalombe districts.

Secretary for Environment and Climate Change Dr Yanira Mtupanyama confirmed in a published statement on Wednesday that the government is alarmed by the spread of the pest in the districts, leaving disastrous results on Bluegum trees.

“Presently, the only known treatment for this infestation is through cultural control methods that involve physically removing and destroying any infested plants,” she said.

She added that cultural control can help lower populations of the pest during early stages of invasion and minimise the rate of spread to new areas but said the measures are likely to be ineffective during high infestation.

Studies of the pest have found that serious damage can be done to young Bluegum plantations and Blue gum tree nurseries.

Mtupanyama therefore warned the public to be wary of the pest and avoid importation and transportation of the trees species into the country.

She also requested the public to inform forestry officials when they find blue gum trees showing signs such deformed leaves and shoots, premature leaf fall, gnarled appearance, stunted tree growth and loss of tree vigour.

Bluegum trees are heavily used for electricity poles in Malawi, among others uses.

Bluegum Chalcid is said to originate from Australia and has spread to many African countries including Algeria.


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