Wits Insectary and Quarantine Facility
The Wits Insectary and Quaratine was primarily built to provide a state-of-the-art facility to conduct research on invasive plants using biological control techniques. Each of the five quarantined laboratories are temperature controlled, and in addition to this, automatic louvres provide the optimal light penetration for the glass construction, without the risk of specimens overheating. Being such a versatile facility, it is also used for arthropod husbandry, plant/insect growth trials and a housing facility for live specimens used in educational programmes.
Wits Insectary interior
For experiments that do not require specific growth conditions or quaratine, or if experiments require a large supply of plant material, the Insectary also has a fully fledged on-site nursery. The nursery has an area of 100 m2 under shade with an automated irrigation system and a further area twice that size not under shade. Where neccessary, the area not under shade can be fitted with a drip irrigation system to accomodate an increasing research output.
Wits Insectary nursery
Research is being conducted by members of the Biocontrol Lab on a number of invasive plant species, some well known, others less so. Listed below are the main areas of research:
Famine weed ( Parthenium hysterophorus) and the leaf-feeding beetle ( Zygogramma bicolorata).
For further information on invasive species in South Africa, check out the Agriculture Research Council - Plant Protection Research Institute website (ARC-PPRI) and Invasive Species South Africa website.
Nic Venter (email@example.com)
Last updated: 31 July 2015