Improving insect monitoring through pheromone innovation

Improving the way insect pests are monitored through the use of natural pheromone solutions is being investigated by one of CHAP’s newest members – International Pheromone Systems (IPS).

IPS specialise in pheromone dispensers and traps, a critical element of successful integrated pest management (IPM), to support the agriculture industry’s drive to reduce synthetic pesticide use.

Recent work by IPS as part of the RTO Grant Support Scheme operated by Innovate UK EDGE, has been investigating the behaviour of cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB), to explore the market potential of new pheromone lures.

The work has since helped to focus future avenues for research, mainly the impact of the host environment plus pest population density on the behaviour of CSFB.

Once this has been completed, it’s hoped improved monitoring, and therefore early action, will be able to take place prior to visible plant damage and shot-holing. For the grower, this could mean controlling the pest prior to significant yield impact, but only when it is truly required.

Dr Sam Jones, Technical Manager for IPS said: “Following withdrawal of neonicotinoid pesticides from the market in 2013, cabbage stem flea beetle has rapidly emerged as the most serious economic pest of oilseed rape and resistance to pyrethroid insecticides has exacerbated this issue.

“While there has been much interest in this pest during the past five years, a pheromone has yet to be formally identified and this is the logical first step in the process of developing a commercial lure for this important pest.”

Innovation Technical Lead at CHAP, Dr Alex McCormack, said: “CHAP supports a wide range of IPM businesses and it was great to help IPS in accessing the RTO grant scheme, and deliver this piece of work alongside experts at Harper Adams University.

“This is a great example of how the agri-tech centres help connect and broker links between innovators, researchers and businesses, to explore and develop new solutions together to meet the needs of UK farmers.”

For more information about CHAP membership, visit https://chap-solutions.co.uk/join-our-membership-scheme/ or e-mail enquiries@chap-solutions.co.uk