Meteorological and landscape influences on pollen beetle immigration into oilseed rape crops

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Skellern, M., Welham, S. J., Watts, N. P. and Cook, S. M. 2017. Meteorological and landscape influences on pollen beetle immigration into oilseed rape crops. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. 241 (1 April), pp. 150-159.

AuthorsSkellern, M., Welham, S. J., Watts, N. P. and Cook, S. M.

Heavy reliance on pesticide inputs to maintain crop yields has been an important aspect of agricultural intensification. Insecticide use has had detrimental impacts on pollinators and natural pest control agents, contributing to a decline in associated ecosystem services, and has also led to resistance development in pest populations. Throughout Europe, in oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) crops, prophylactic use of insecticides against pollen beetles (Meligethes aeneus F. also known as Brassicogethes aeneus) has led to such issues, and there is an urgent need to develop more sustainable pest management practices for the crop. Although advice is available to oilseed rape growers regarding control thresholds, it may not be adhered to due to the expense of pollen beetle monitoring relative to the inexpensive cost of pyrethroid insecticides. Thus, the key to reducing prophylactic insecticide applications may lie with improved, less labour intensive methods of pollen beetle monitoring. For these to be realized, a better understanding is needed of the effects of agri-landscape features and meteorological conditions on pollen beetle immigration into the crop. In this study, based on data from four years of pollen beetle monitoring on a total of 41 field sites, we model the effects of meteorological (wind speed and direction, rainfall and accumulated temperature) and landscape (areas of woodland, residential gardens, the current and previous seasons’ oilseed rape crops, and lengths of hedgerows and treelines) variables on directional sticky trap catches, at both the single trap and field scales. Meteorological variables, particularly accumulated temperature and wind speed were more important than landscape variables in predicting the abundance of pollen beetles immigrating into OSR fields. Sticky traps that were facing downwind caught more beetles than those that were facing across-wind or upwind; this is the first study to show at a landscape-scale, direct evidence for use of upwind anemotaxis by pollen beetles at the point of entry during immigration into the crop. At the field scale, the area of oilseed rape grown in the previous season was found to be positively related to trap catch, but no relationships with other landscape variables were found. Optimally-placed monitoring traps could complement existing decision support systems to reduce pollen beetle monitoring effort and encourage use of insecticides only when control thresholds are breached, thus enhancing the sustainability of oilseed rape production. Knowledge of the area of oilseed rape crops grown during the previous season in the surrounding landscape could contribute to risk assessment of potential pest pressure for individual OSR crops.

KeywordsBrassicogethes; Decision support systems; Insecticide resistance; Integrated pest management; Meligethes aeneus; Monitoring trap; Sustainable intensification
Year of Publication2017
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems & Environment
Journal citation241 (1 April), pp. 150-159
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
PubMed ID28701806
PubMed Central IDPMC5485638
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) of the Health and Safety Directorate
Funder project or codeDelivering Sustainable Systems (SS) [ISPG]
Quantifying Sustainable Systems
Movement and spatial ecology in agricultural landscapes
Development of an integrated pest management strategy for control of pollen beetle in winter oilseed rape
The Rothamsted Long Term Experiments [2017-2022]
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online23 Mar 2017
Publication process dates
Accepted08 Mar 2017
PublisherElsevier Science Bv

Permalink -

137 total views
105 total downloads
3 views this month
4 downloads this month
Download files as zip