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Novel approaches to control cabbage stem flea beetle (PhD)

Project number 21510042

Lead partners Harper Adams University

Start date October 2019

End date September 2022

AHDB funding £36,150

Total funding £42,150

The challenge

Cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) adults graze on young oilseed rape plants. This can result in plant death. CSFB larvae also mine within petioles and stems of surviving plants. Following the withdrawal of neonicotinoid seed treatments and emergence of populations with resistance to pyrethroid insecticides, the pest has increased in importance. The integrated pest management (IPM) of CSFB requires innovation in crop protection and post-pesticide management systems. A wide range of controls is required, including novel approaches, such as the use of biopesticides. 

The project

The project will screen plant extracts and biopesticides, including entomopathogenic fungi, nematodes and bacteria, for efficacy against CSFB adults and larvae. The work will also evaluate the benefits (reliability and improved efficacy) of using selected biopesticides, in combination with insecticides, to manage pyrethroid-resistant CSFB populations. Finally, the project will investigate changes to the susceptibility of CSFB to selected biopesticides and pyrethroid insecticides over time. 

The benefits

Biopesticides provide an attractive pest control option, because of their minimal impact on the environment, specificity to the target pest and potential as a resistance management tool. Despite this, biopesticides to control CSFB have received little attention. By investigating the potential of biopesticides, used singly or in combination with other insecticide options, to control this beetle pest, this project will deliver practical information to farmers. 

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