Although recent research has demonstrated that clays provide satisfactory control of some agricultural insect pests, the effect of clays on gall wasps that damage forest trees has not been previously reported. The aim of the current study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the clay kaolin in the laboratory and in the field in reducing the damage caused by the eulophid Ophelimus maskelli (Ashmead) on seedlings of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus L'Hér.) species. In the laboratory, kaolin wetting agent significantly reduced the percentage of infested leaves and the number of galls per leaf. In the nursery, gall number per leaf was not correlated with leaf area with kaolin wetting agent but was related to leaf area for all other treatments (wetting agent alone, imidacloprid, and untreated control). In the nursery, gall number per leaf was lower with kaolin wetting agent and with imidacloprid than with the other two treatments. Overall, kaolin effectively reduced eulophid infestations, and its effect was more persistent than that of imidacloprid. Although application of kaolin might not be feasible on large forested areas, kaolin could represent a valuable control method in nurseries, where the repeated application with more toxic chemicals can result in high concentrations of residual pesticides in the soil.
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Vol. 104 • No. 1