South African Sirex Control Programme

Project Leader

The South African Sirex Control Programme (SASCP) was established in 2001 as a partnership between Industry, Government (Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)) and research partners at the ICFR and FABI (University of Pretoria).

The programme is focussed on national scale management and control of the pest Sirex noctilio through:

  • Operational control of Sirex through the deployment of biological control agents
  • Monitoring the extent and spread of Sirex in South Africa
  • Communication and awareness to all stakeholders
  • Research to support the Control Programme (at the ICFR and FABI)


The key objective is to develop an appropriate pest management system, underpinned by an adequate knowledge and infrastructure base, to ensure that the threat from Sirex to pine plantations in South Africa is minimized.

The Programme is funded through a public-private partnership from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Forestry South Africa, and is managed by a Steering Committee consisting of forestry companies, DAFF and FSA, together with FABI and ICFR research staff who support the programme with the necessary research and technology. FABI also supply the biological control nematode, Deladenus siricidicola for deployment in plantations in South Africa and Swaziland, and determine the rate of parasitism by D. siricidicola.  Where successful parasitism occurs, these nematodes are kept and reared for further release in subsequent inoculations. 

The operational aspect of the Programme is managed from the ICFR through the project co-ordinator, Philip Croft, who together with contractors, undertakes the monitoring and biological control release. A second biocontrol agent, the parasitic wasp Ibalia leucospoides is also being released as part of the Programme, and these wasps have become successfully established in many parts of South Africa’s pine plantations. 

Monitoring the movement of S. noctilio is also managed through the ICFR, from observations of plantation damage as well as recorded parasitism levels generated by biological control. Around 535 semi-permanent monitoring plots laid out across the landscape in high and low risk compartments are used to monitor the tree mortality due to S. noctilio.  Samples from these trees are placed in the emergence cages, to collect wasps and determines parasitism levels.  This information, together with the individual company monitoring is used to develop the following year’s inoculation programme. The emergence cages also enable collections of I. leucospoides wasps for further release.

Relevant information on research and publications for this project can also be found on the FABI website