Tilba landowner Ron Snape is asking the Eurobodalla Council to help his get fireweed-destroying aphids studied.
The good news is that even though experts previously dismissed the aphids as being a viable control agent, patches of fireweed on his Central Tilba property continue to be decimated and turned black by the mystery insects.
Mr Snape told councillors at Tuesday’s meeting that he had an obligation to fellow farmers to look into the potential biological control of fireweed as aphids continue to decimate the noxious weed on his property.
Mr Snape, who has worked the land for 50 years, said he was unhappy with how the potential for the aphid as a biological control had been dismissed by experts.
Related story: Fireweed-eating aphid at Tilba not the silver bullet
Councillor Rob Pollock said he had heard an interview with one expert. “That interview was dismissive,” Cr Pollock said.
Cr Pollock asked council to take an active role in getting the bugs investigated. “Every now and then you need to kick down a few doors. It certainly behooves us to examine the opportunity,” Cr Pollock said.
Fireweed is an agricultural pest in the shire and across the state. Shire mayor Liz Innes said the issue had “a massive impact locally”.
Mr Snape said the aphid had not been identified. “We don’t know if it is introduced or native,” Mr Snape said. “We have a moral obligation to look a this.”
However, time might be running out.
“If we lose the aphid over the summer, as the fireweed dies down, we may be losing a very important biological agent,” Mr Snape said.
Councillor James Thompson also farms sheep on 1400 acres and said there was a need to know more about the insect.
“We should find out if the bugs will survive the off season and come back when the fireweed regrows.”