Aphids soar but no need to panic

APHID NUMBERS across British Beet Research Organisation sites have significantly exceeded previous records, according to Brooms Barn research centre.

Last week (w/e June 28) 2,340 Myzus persicae aphids were caught in water traps at 39 sites, beating last year’s weekly record of 1,208. Morley in Norfolk, Broom’s Barn and Potton in Bedfordshire were key ‘hot spots’.

But apart from some backward crops, most beet is growing well and at an advanced stage so there is no need to panic, said Broom’s Barn’s Mike May.

“During the seven days we have caught as many aphids as we would catch in an average trapping season of 12 weeks. If these aphids had arrived earlier then the crop would have been at serious risk from virus yellows infection.

“Growers need to be aware of the high numbers now, as by the end of August they may see the in-field yellow ‘paintbrush effect’ where individual aphids infect individual plants,” he said.

Some reports of virus symptoms have been received, with the first plants infected with Beet yellows virus at Broom’s Barn in untreated beet last week, he noted.

Of the 318 aphids tested for infectivity up to June 21, only two were found to be carrying Beet mild yellowing virus (BMYV) – both from North Lincolnshire, he added.

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