ESTEPONA’S Council has implemented a “pioneering” new system to control the rise of bugs damaging the town’s trees.
The natural method,used to exterminate aphids and other parasites, involves releasing “enemy” insects.
Serio Rodriguez, Councillor for Parks and Gardens, explained the treatment, known as “biological wrestling”, consists of introducing species of wasps, beetles and ladybirds which kill aphids.
Councillor Rodriguez saidthe system is more environmentally sustainable then using chemicals, which the council has found become less effective over time and increase environmental contamination.
The plan will target aphids found in jacarandas and psylas found in ficus plants. Councillor Rodriguez explained aphids are insects with a long, articulated stingerwhich penetrates plants and absorbs its juices. The insects later secrete a sugary, sticky liquid which impregnates the surface of the plant, preventing its normal development.
Wasps will be released which will track the scent of aphids, depositing eggs amongst them which kill them. Ladybirds are also a natural predator to aphids, hunting and eating them, while beetles also attack and kill the pests.
Councillor Rodriguez explained this natural system has several advantages over using pesticides, namely by leaving green spaces safer and healthier and tackling pollution. He added the decreasing number of legal chemicals allowed to be used to kill pests has forced the council to come up with more natural ways of controlling insects.