Ladybirds lag in aphid boom

GROWERS HAVE been warned an aphid explosion could be hitting sugar beet, potato and brassica crops.

The most recent trapping and monitoring results reveal over 1200 aphids were caught in water traps at 38 sites across Yorkshire, midlands and the eastern counties.

But beneficial insects are not keeping pace with the population boom, with only 10 ladybirds caught on just three of the sites.

Record-breaking numbers of the virus-carrying Myzus persicae have been found, with 10 of the 800 aphids caught in the last week by Broom‘s Barn Research Station found to be carrying virus.

Researchers have also warned of aphid hotspots, with one trap at Wittering near Stamford capturing 189 M. persicae, yet barely five miles away the trap at Langtoft caught only one.

Steve Foster, aphid expert with Rothamsted Research, warned growers to monitor individual sugar beet, potato and field brassica crops carefully.

“Tests have revealed high proportions of MACE resistance in M. persicae populations, sometimes coupled with esterase-based R2 or R3 resistance,” he reported.

If control problems are encountered, growers should use a product known to overcome resistance.