UK: HGCA issues new information on pollen beetle monitoring and spray control thresholds

A pollen beetle. Picture taken by Alan Dewar of Dewar Crop Protection

A pollen beetle. Picture taken by Alan Dewar of Dewar Crop Protection - Credit: Archant

New information on pollen beetle monitoring and spray control thresholds in winter and spring oilseed rape has been issued by HGCA, the cereals and oilseeds division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

Research manager Caroline Nicholls said: “HGCA-funded research, conducted by ADAS, has revealed that the plant population makes a large difference to the pollen beetle threshold. Plants in low plant population crops produce more branches and flowers and can tolerate a higher number of pollen beetles.

“Based on experience in recent years, pollen beetles have rarely been numerous enough to warrant treatment.”

“By preventing ‘insurance’ sprays and following resistance management advice, such as not spraying after flowering starts, we should be in a good position to counter the resistance threat, which is now widespread throughout the UK, without compromising control.”

Pollen beetle thresholds should be used in conjunction with best monitoring practice and findings from a second recently completed HGCA project, led by Rothamsted Research, are helping to provide the tools to help focus monitoring efforts.


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Over four years, 178 oilseed rape crops were monitored for pollen beetles across the UK using sticky traps and sampling plants along transects to help test a tool that forecasts pollen beetle migration.

“The tool uses local meteorological data to generate a series of maps indicating whether migration has started, the risk of migration starting over the next three days and the predicted completion of migration,” said Miss Nicholls.

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For information on the pollen beetle forecast tool, visit www.hgca.com/pests

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