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Integrated aphid advisory alerts (Aphid News)

,Cereals & Oilseeds,Horticulture,Potatoes
Project code:
01 April 2019 - 31 March 2021
AHDB sector cost:
Total project value:
Project leader:
Rothamsted Research

Aims and objectives

The challenge

Aphids have the potential to cause major economic problems in most UK crops through removal of sap, transmission of viruses and deposition of honeydew. The sporadic nature of aphid attacks in time and space means that prophylactic use of insecticides does not make economic sense. It also increases the risk of insecticide resistance and damages the environmental reputation of the industry.

The project

Rothamsted Research manages a network of 16 insect suction traps across Great Britain. The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) provides most of the funds to support this network.

These traps help provide information on the abundance and regional distribution of winged aphids. The information allows growers and agronomists to compare aphid population trends in the current season with past seasons and informs decision making about the need to control aphid pests, including virus vectors, such as grain aphids and bird cherry–oat aphids.

AHDB funds support the provision of the aphid count data and commentary within AHDB Aphid News.

A survey of levy payers in summer/autumn 2018 showed a good awareness of the Aphid News service, particularly among their agronomists. Over 75% of those advising on cereal crops indicated that they referred to the Aphid News on a weekly or monthly basis. Those that used it on a weekly basis indicated that the information helped them target sprays, determine spray frequency and/or select plant protection products.

*Funding shown is for the current two-year phase of the work, which will:

  • Provide concise, tabulated information on the abundance of 10 aphid species in the Aphid News, based on samples from 16 suction traps during the aphid ‘season’ (typically, April – November)
  • Provide weekly tables on the abundance of Cavariella pastinacae and C. theobaldi for use by AHDB with its contractor(s) to produce commentary of relevance to the horticulture sector
  • Provide weekly information in autumn on numbers of cereal-colonising and bird cherry-colonising Rhopalosiphum padi at Rothamsted
  • Provide forecasts of the phenology and early season abundance of cereal, oilseed rape and potato aphid
  • Pilot test samples of cereal aphids (grain aphid and bird cherry-oat aphid) from the suction traps for BYDV in 2019. Rothamsted will test one plate (up to 90 aphids) per week from 1 April to 30 November 2019 (35 weeks) from 5 traps (Newcastle, Kirton, Brooms Barn, Writtle and Starcross)

Related resources

Aphid News