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Widespread defoliation of plantation forests by insect pests causes economic losses worldwide.
Successful pest outbreak management requires knowledge of effective pest management options.
Currently, such knowledge is inadequate for Gonometa podocarpi an indigenous pest that has
devastated conifer plantations in Uganda since the 1960s. The pest is a serious defoliator of
conifers in East Africa and was first described from Mt. Elgon Kenya, where its larvae were
defoliating indigenous conifer; Podocarpus spp. The pest has since adapted to feeding on exotic
conifers. There have been several serious resurgences of this pest in Uganda, the latest being
2011 and 2012. Studies carried out during the peak of these outbreaks in Muko, Kiriima and
Mafuga Central Forest reserves in South Western Uganda established G.podocarpi infestations in
Kiriima and Mafuga but none in Muko. The studies also identified a tachnid fly, Palexorista
gilvoides as a potential biological control agent for G. podocarpi. Field and laboratory studies
further established that P. gilvoides is a larval parasitoid of G.podocarpi, with parasitism levels of
43.0 and 62.0% in the field and laboratory respectively. These levels of parasitism are considered
high enough to control the pest. However, causes of this pest resurgence need further investigations.