Merrifield, CBC partner to combat hyacinth invasion

BIOLOGICAL CONTROL: From left, Merrifield College teachers Gerald White and Pauline Wetmore, CBC researcher Esther Mostert and CBC researcher Ben Miller

UPDATE: An earlier version of this article misidentified Esther Mostert as Rosali Smith. We apologise for the error

Back in November, the GO! & Express reported about a collaboration between Merrifield College and the Centre for Biological Control (CBC) that saw the school breeding specialised plant-eating insects to help combat water hyacinth in the Nahoon River.

In the month since the project began, Merrifield pupils and staff have been taking good care of the 800 Megamelus scutellaris, also known as water hyacinth planthoppers, which they received from the CBS and have seen a positive growth in insect numbers, thanks in part to the warmer summer weather.

The school’s  first batch of insects was released recently, along with another 12,000 insects released by the centre.

However, the CBC said it could take years before any impact became visible.

The insect population needs time to grow and efforts are also needed to reduce the level of pollution in the river.

Merrifield and the CBC are hoping to release a new batch of insects every week in 2020.

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