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Waainek Research Laboratory

Waainek_2

Space is limited on the Rhodes University campus and space had to be sought to house students and researchers involved in undertaking projects on the control of agricultural pests. The laboratory which used to house the Tick Research Unit at Rhodes was opened on the 12th of March 2009. The unit closed down in 1993 and the buildings have been largely unused since that time. In late 2008 Rhodes University made some funds available to the discipline of Entomology to renovate the Waainek Research Laboratory. With very little funding this laboratory is now fully functional and houses a research officer, a PhD student, two masters students and an honours students. The opening was attended by several people from the agricultural industry, academics and students.

Research

The Eastern Cape has a number of different floristic biomes that ensures a wide diversity of agricultural ecosystems. The department of Zoology and Entomology is ideally placed to research problems experienced in this area. Indeed, entomology almost has an obligation to address the problems experienced in pest control in this area. The department has been involved in agricultural projects since its inception in 1905 when the first head of department Professor Duerden worked in wool quality and ostriches in this area. In the 1970s considerable work was undertaken in the control of citrus pests.

In the last 7 or 8 years there has been a rejuvenation of agricultural entomological research in the department and projects have been undertaken on the control of pests in cabbages, chicory, peppers, olives, macadamias, litchis, potatoes and citrus. More recently the main focus has been the control of citrus pests using microbes such as fungi and viruses. These projects have focussed not only on commercial farming systems, but also sustainable rural livelihoods. The philosophy of this work is to:
• Research problems driven by industry
• Commitment to undertaking fundamental science on applied systems
• Commitment to IPM
It is widely accepted that pests should be controlled using less insecticides and more through natural enemies such as spiders and wasp parasitoids.

Funding

To date this research has received funding from:
• Chicory SA Ltd
• Citrus Research International
• Citrus Academy
• River Bioscience
• Insect Science (Pty) Ltd
• Litchi Growers Association
• Southern Africa Macadamia Growers Ass.
• Carara Agro Processing Services
• Rhodes University Joint Research Council
• Rhodes University

Last Modified: Tue, 14 Aug 2012 08:36:42 SAST