Improving integrated pest management (IPM) of aphid BYDV vectors (PhD)


Cereals & Oilseeds
Project code:
01 November 2020 - 31 December 2023
AHDB sector cost:
Total project value:
Project leader:
Harper Adams University

About this project

The challenge

Various aphid species, particularly the bird cherry–oat aphid and grain aphid, transmit Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) to cereal crops. BYDV management needs to change, primarily because of two important developments. Firstly, moderate levels of pyrethroid insecticide resistance are widespread in UK grain aphid populations. Secondly, neonicotinoid insecticide seed treatments are no longer available to protect the crop during its critical early growth stages. The limited chemical armoury, in addition to the requirements of the Sustainable Use Directive, mean BYDV management needs an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy. However, the availability of effective and well-defined IPM approaches is limited.

The project

This PhD studentship project investigates the potential use of trap crops to reduce the number of virus vectors entering nearby commercial crops. The study will also examine the volatile chemicals associated with preferred hosts of BYDV vectors and the potential to exploit them as a tool to improve the reliability and specificity of in-crop monitoring.

The project has three objectives:

  1. Investigate preferred hosts for BYDV vectors and their potential to act as a trap crop to reduce the number of aphids entering the crop.
  2. Record the responses of natural enemies of BYDV vectors to trap crop and AHDB Recommended Lists varieties.
  3. Identify and exploit the volatile chemicals produced by highly susceptible heritage winter wheat varieties, such as Maris Huntsman, and plants associated with BYDV infection to improve reliability of in-crop monitoring of cereal aphids.


Maria Damascena de Almeida Leandro, Harper Adams University


Improved in-crop monitoring and use of trap cropping to manage aphid BYDV vectors in winter cereals, Maria Damascena de Almeida Leandro, Harper Adams University (Agronomists’ Conference 2021 video)

Watch PhD supervisor Tom Pope discuss this topic (video)

Read about this and other PhD projects (CPM article)