Mr Privilege Makunde
I obtained a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Natural Resources Management and Agriculture in Zimbabwe and did a European Master of Science at Ghent University, Belgium. I have been working as an Entomologist at Tobacco Research Board, Zimbabwe.
Currently I am doing a Ph.D. in Entomology in the Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria (UP) under Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI). My research aim is to study the biology and ecology of shell lerp psyllid, Spondyliaspis cf. plicatuloides (Hemiptera: Psyllidae). This eucalyptus pest was accidentally introduced in South Africa and the first report was made in 2014. Very little is known about this insect pest even in its native range of Australia. Therefore, the specific objectives of my work are: 1. to study/investigate the effect of temperature on the developmental time of S. cf. plicatuloides under controlled and varying temperatures. 2. to study the seasonal occurrence of S. cf. plicatuloides in areas already invaded. 3. to investigate the patterns of host susceptibility of commercially grown eucalypts in South Africa, 4. to investigate the prevalence of Psyllaephagus spp. and S. cf. plicatuloides association and 5. to characterise the genetic diversity of S. cf. plicatuloides populations in South Africa and compare it with Australian populations.
1. Biological control of insect pests and pathogens
2. Integrated pest management
3. Climate change
4. Genetic diversity
5. Molecular aspects of plant-pathogen/insect interactions
Thaumastocoris peregrinus, the bronze bug, is not only a pest attacking Eucalyptus in South Africa but is also a problem in several other African countries.