Identification of the agapanthus gall midge in the United Kingdom: Enigmadiplosis agapanthi
In the United Kingdom, a new and undescribed gall midge was found in 2014 damaging Agapanthus spp. flowers (EPPO RS 2015/170). The agapanthus gall midge causes flower buds to deform, discolour and fail to open. Occasionally, feeding activities of the midge can lead to the collapse of whole flower heads. This previously unknown species has now been formally described as Enigmadiplosis agapanthi sp. nov. (Harris et al., 2016). The Royal Horticultural Society has initiated a research project to elucidate the biology of this new species and identify possible management methods to limit flower damage. Since this initial discovery, further surveillance has been undertaken in the United Kingdom. Results have shown that E. agapanthi is established and present in several counties (i.e. Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Essex, Hampshire, London, Somerset, Surrey, West Sussex (South England) and in West Yorkshire (North England)). There was also an unconfirmed finding in Cumbria (Northwest England). Locations in which the midge has been recorded include public and private gardens, as well as plant nurseries and garden centres. As there are no effective control options available against this pest, no containment or eradication measures are envisaged in the wider environment or on commercial premises. However, information will be provided to help limit pest populations. The origin of this introduction is unknown but it is suspected that E. agapanthi originates from South Africa, as an undescribed and unstudied gall midge inducing identical symptoms has been recorded there.
The pest status of Enigmadiplosis agapanthi in the United Kingdom is officially declared as: Present (restricted distribution).
Harris KM, Salisbury A, Jones H (2016) Enigmadiplosis agapanthi, a new genus and species of gall midge (Diptera, Cecidomyiidae) damaging Agapanthus flowers in England. Cecidology 31, 17-25.
NPPO of the United Kingdom (2016-04).