The high rate of insecticide resistance in mosquito vectors has been a topical issue dominating discussion in different parts of the world (Oduola et al. 2010) and the urgent need to search for alternative methods has been seriously advocated (Howard et al. 2010). The search for alternative methods becomes imperative when considering the degree of morbidity and mortality associated with mosquito-borne diseases (Adeleke et al. 2010).
The coleopterist Arnett (1947) concluded in a techniques paper that 'As with any attempt to outline technique, this is little more than a sketch of some of the points to be considered. Each technician must work out the details for himself.... Do not let the technique become the end, but rather carefully prepared material which will serve the best advantage of the worker in carrying out his research should be the end.' I concur but add that unless entomological techniques are documented, others have to reinvent the wheel, rather than refine it. Here I provide a summary of what is published and document the details that I have worked out for others to use as a starting point.
In South Africa, sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam., is cultivated over a relatively small area of c. 3000 ha (Laurie 2004). The greater part of the harvest is consumed locally, the bulk fresh and c. 5 % processed; another 5 % is exported, mainly to the United Kingdom (Laurie 2004). Significant sweet potato production areas in South Africa include Hoedspruit and Levubu (Limpopo Province), Marble Hall, Burgersfort and Nelspruit (Mpumalanga), and certain areas of the Western Cape Province and KwaZulu-Natal (Laurie 2004).
Scirtothrips aurantii Faure (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), the well-known economic pest of horticulture in Africa (Samways et al. 1987; Lewis 1997; Grove et al. 2000), established adventitiously in Australia around 2002. Although known colloquially as the South African citrus thrips, the species is a well-documented generalist that is reported from 70 to 100 plant species from 32 families (Gilbert 1989; de Villiers et al. 1987). Consequently, the establishment of this species in Australia was a major cause for concern (Anon. 2003), but no reports of S. aurantii attacking horticultural hosts in Australia have surfaced, despite several targeted surveys (Anon. 2003; Rafter et al. 2008).