14 March 2022, Scotland: Arthropod pests are estimated to destroy up to 20% of annual crop production worldwide. In recent years, key pesticides used in soft fruit production have been withdrawn, leaving crops vulnerable to attack. Researchers have been developing alternative measures to reduce pest abundance and damage such as precision monitoring, biological controls, cultural practices and semiochemical lures.
New resources summarising recent integrated pest management (IPM) research to tackle new and existing insect pest threats to Scottish fruit crops have been developed by Dr Carolyn Mitchell, an entomologist based at the James Hutton Institute.
“These online resources aim to help farmers, agronomists and agriculture students understand the biology and control measures for key insect pests posing a risk to fruit production in Scotland,” said Dr Mitchell.
“They also highlight services to support IPM research, such as our live insect collections, which are available for use by the scientific community.”
In addition, a new service has been launched through James Hutton Limited for characterising insect genotype using molecular markers. “The threat posed to crops by insect pests often varies with insect genotype”, explains Dr Gaynor Malloch, the institute scientist leading the service.
“This service will allow researchers and commercial organisations to characterise the predominant genotypes in insect samples and detect rare or emerging genotypes.”
Creation of the IPM resources and the Hutton Insect Collection has been supported with funding from Scottish Government’s Rural & Environment Science & Analytical Services (RESAS) through the Strategic Research Programme and Underpinning National Capacity (2016-2022).