Charles, J.G., Allan, D.J., & Zydenbos, S.M. 2002 An ecological perspective to host-specificity testing of biocontrol agents.. New Zealand Plant Protection 55: 37-41.
Notes: [Proceedings of a conference held at the Quality Hotel in Palmerston North, New Zealand in 2001. Published by the New Zealand Plant Protection Society, Rotorua, New Zealand.] Classical biological control programmes have historically been viewed positively, but in the new social context of "all new invaders are bad", the perceived environmental threats from new natural enemies are regarded by some as unacceptable. Host-specificity testing of proposed biocontrol agents is required to provide environmental safety assurances, but laboratory methods are likely to be flawed and cannot mimic the reality of nature. It is proposed that analysis of the realised host-range of long-established exotic parasitoids may help to predict the impacts of proposed, new biocontrol agents and supplement laboratory testing. This approach was used in 1999 when applying to New Zealand's Environmental Risk Management Authority for approval to release the parasitoid Pseudaphycus maculipennis (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) against the obscure mealybug, Pseudococcus viburni (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae). The data from New Zealand and elsewhere indicate that new encyrtid parasitoids of mealybugs have shown no propensity to attack native species over time.