Abstract 1 Sirex noctilio has resulted in one of the most damaging biological invasions of pine forestry in the southern hemisphere. 2 An intensive, integrated control programme has been developed for this pest and is generally considered very successful. However, a critical comparison of S. noctilio infestations and control efforts throughout the southern hemisphere reveals that control has not been uniformly effective. Of particular concern is the apparently unexplained variability in establishment and success of biological control agents, including various parasitic wasps and the parasitic nematode Deladenus siricidicola. 3 An overlooked aspect in the establishment of the biological control interventions for S. noctilio is the potential influence of genetic bottlenecks on the ability of the agents to adapt to different environments and different populations of S. noctilio. 4 Despite established biological control agents, stress in forests caused by silvicultural practices or the environment will predispose trees to heavy infestation. Unfortunately, improved silvicultural practices are not always economically feasible and environmental changes are often unavoidable. 5 Sirex noctilio continues to pose a serious threat to pine forestry in many areas. Despite extensive earlier research into a single integrated control for S. noctilio, it is important to recognize that such a strategy will probably require significant local adaptation in new areas of infestation and over time.