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Biocontrol introduction

Target pest: Coleophora frischella (Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae) = Coleophora trifolii, white tipped clover casebearer

Agent introduced: Bracon variegator (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)


1961, 1962, 1968, 1969

Import source:

1961, 1969 near Freiburg, Germany; 1961, 1962, 1968, 1969 Avignon, France via Delémont, Switzerland

Import notes:

Cameron et al. (1993) - Bracon variegator was imported as field-collected, encased, fourth instar host larvae, either Coleophora frischella or C. deauratella (closely related to C. frischella and thus it was thought could serve as a source of parasitoids for C. frischella [it is not recorded if any B. variegator emerged from C. deauratella larvae]). Coleophora deauratella, collected from near Freiburg, Germany, were imported in 1961 and 1969;C. frischella were collected from Avignon, France in 1961, 1962, 1968 and 1969 and reared in Delémont, Switzerland prior to shipping to New Zealand. A breeding colony of B. variegator, established from the 1961 importations, produced 57 females and 98 males for release. The 1962 shipment produced six female and nine male B. variegator which were released, prior to the shipment being destroyed because of an infestation of the mite Pyemotes zwoelferi. In 1968, at total of 3,570 encased C. frischella was received in three consignments in October, November and December, and another consignment received in 1969. The intent of the 1968 and 1969 consignments was to establish breeding colonies of other parasitoids, but B. variegator was reported as being present (from pre-shipment dissections an estimated 70 in 1969), although there is no record of B. variegator emergence from these larvae.



Release details:

Cameron et al. (1989) - in 1961, 57 females and 98 males plus an unknown number of larvae (in ten clover plants, each infested with more than 100 Coleophora spp. larvae, planted into infested clover areas) were released at Nelson, South Island. Six females and nine males were released at Nelson in 1962. Although there is no record of B. variegator emergences or releases from the 1968 and 1969 importations [see Cameron et al. (1989) entry in 'Import notes' section] a DSIR list of parasitoid releases against Coleophora spp. from 1966 to 1970 includes B. variegator and the 1968 and 1969 shipments are the only ones from which these releases could have been made. Following establishment in Nelson, B. variegator were collected from the field there and released in Canterbury, South Island, at Lincoln (10 pairs in 1967; 2,450 individuals, including 1,015 females, in 1968) and Cheviot (50 pairs in 1968).


Cameron et al. (1989) - establishment at Nelson was confirmed in March 1966. Establishment was confirmed at Lincoln in April 1970 and two years later a study there found 26.9% of fourth instar Coleophora spp. [C. frischella and C. spissicornis] parasitised by B. variegator. Found to be established at Palmerston North, North Island in 1981.

Impacts on target:

Cameron et al. (1989) - sampling in Canterbury white clover seed crops showed a ten-fold reduction in Coleophora spp. populations between 1969-70 and 1977. Much of this reduction can probably be attributed to B. variegator although other factors will have contributed, namely a change in clover seed crop management practices and insecticide sprays for the newly established aphids Acyrthosiphon kondoi and A. pisum. Of the parasitoids introduced against Coleophora spp. [C. frischella and C. spissicornis] only B. variegator and Chrysonotomyia trifolii [established in 1977] have established. While they were not deemed the most desirable, in the absence of competition from the parasitoids more closely synchronised with the hosts, B. variegator and C. trifolii have achieved the aim of controlling Coleophora spp. admirably. It is now rare for Coleophora spp. infestations in white clover seed crops to reach an economically damaging level or require control with insecticides.

Cameron et al. (1993) - Bracon variegator is categorised as exerting “substantial” control (defined as “other control measures are only occasionally required”) over Coleophora spp. [C. frischella and C. spissicornis].


Cameron PJ, Hill RL, Bain J, Thomas WP (1989). A Review of Biological Control of Invertebrate Pests and Weeds in New Zealand 1874-1987. Technical Communication No 10. CAB International Institute of Biological Control. DSIR Entomology Division. 424p.

Cameron PJ, Hill RL, Bain J, Thomas WP (1993). Analysis of importations for biological control of insect pests and weeds in New Zealand. Biocontrol Science and Technology 3(4): 387-404