1 The sirex woodwasp, Sirex noctilio has been a significant pest of radiata pine plantations in Victoria since 1961. Outbreaks are usually associated with susceptible trees being under some form of stress including the effects of drought and overcrowding.
2 This paper reviews the spread of sirex and the history and efficacy of biological control programmes implemented against sirex in Victoria from 1970 to 2006.
3 Of the numerous biological control agents released, the most effective in managing sirex have been the nematode Beddingia siricidicola and the parasitic wasp Ibalia leucospoides. Several other parasitic wasps such as Schlettererius cinctipes and Megarhyssa nortoni nortoni have also established but provide only minimal control.
4 While rates of I. leucospoides parasitism have improved over time, it is unlikely that this improvement will continue substantially past current levels.
5 In recent years, issues have arisen regarding a decline in the infectivity of B. siricidicola necessitating a re-evaluation of strategies and development of techniques to overcome this problem.
6 Ongoing research using Random Amplification of Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) testing is underway to accurately determine nematode strains and associated infectivity present in plantations in the field in order to develop management strategies to re-introduce more effective strains.