AHDB Aphid News provides regional information on aphid species and numbers. It is emailed weekly (Friday) during the aphid flight period (typically, April to November).
The information can be used to help time treatments better, reduce harm to beneficial insects and lower the risk of selection for insecticide resistance by reducing unnecessary or poorly timed sprays.
How aphids are caught and counted
The aphid data is gathered by the Rothamsted/SASA suction-trap network and the FERA yellow water-pan trap network.
Aphid suction traps
The suction-trap network focuses on aphid species of importance to cereals and oilseeds crops. The 12.2m tall traps suck in air continuously and are emptied daily in spring, summer and autumn (weekly in winter). Aphid species are then identified and counted at Rothamsted Research and SASA (Gogarbank suction trap).
The data published within Aphid News is based on aphids trapped in a particular ‘Bulletin Week’ (which runs from Monday to Sunday). For each aphid species, tables are used to show the total number caught at each suction trap site – both for the current Bulletin Week and the accumulated totals for the year. For selected species, numbers for the same period last year are also shown, along with the long-term (10-year) average. Data can also be viewed at insectsurvey.com. The yellow water-pan trap network looks at a wider set of aphid species, including those that affect potato and field vegetable crops.
As suction trap results are based on data collected in the previous week, information should only be used to supplement in-field observations.
Aphid yellow water traps
About 100 yellow water traps are located in/close to seed potato crops across Great Britain. Traps are emptied approximately weekly by the host growers/agronomists, with full results (individual counts and weekly averages) published on a dedicated aphid monitoring website.
Compared to the suction traps, the yellow water traps provide more localised (and more recent) information on which aphids are flying close to seed potato crops. Although yellow water trap results and commentary focus on aphids that transmit potato viruses (and run for a shorter period: typically, April to September), data on a wider range of aphid species, including cereal aphids, is published. Used as part of wider aphid monitoring, these results can help build up a picture of regional aphid risks.
March aphid forecasts
Suction trap aphid data and weather data can be used to forecast the start of aphid flights. Although there is considerable uncertainty associated with actual first flight dates at specific sites, the forecasts provide an indication of how early or late flights will take place, compared with an ‘average’ season. It is important to note that some aphids overwinter in crops and are likely to be present before aphid flights commence.