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UK/East Anglia: Aphids likely to fly ‘much earlier’

11:00 15 March 2014

Aphids are out early, scientists say

Aphids are out early, scientists say

Cereal and oilseed rape aphids are likely to fly considerably earlier this year, according to HGCA’s Aphid News service.

The service, provided in association with Rothamsted Research, uses data from a national suction trap network and long-term weather data.

The forecasts include dates when cereal and brassica aphids are expected to be first caught in thirteen suction traps.

Miss Caroline Nicholls, HGCA Research and Knowledge Transfer Manager, said: “Average temperatures in January and February can be used to forecast the first aphid flights.

“The temperature in January and February was considerably higher than the long-term average across the country – by 1°C to 1.5°°C in the north and around 2°C in the south – and it is estimated the first aphid flights will be two to four weeks earlier than average.

“The forecasts show that the suction trap, located in the South West, could capture the first cereal aphids any day now,” stated Miss Nicholls.

The Rothamsted suction trap, located in Hertfordshire, has been capturing brassica aphids since its first year of operation 50 years ago in 1964. At this site, peach–potato aphid (Myzus persicae) is predicted to be captured on 15 April this year – the 8th earliest forecast date out of the 50 years.

The forecast data reveals the potential progression of aphid flights across the UK and the suction trap located at Dundee is not predicted to catch the first peach–potato aphid until 1 June.

From early April, HGCA plans to issue weekly Aphid News bulletins so growers can keep abreast of the latest regional aphid developments, including information on virus transmission and potential resistance issues.

To view the forecasts for 2014 (which include regional analysis) or to subscribe to the weekly Aphid News service, visit


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