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Diamondback moth influx set to devastate brassica crops

Scientists say a large number of the diamondback moth which have arrived in the UK and Europe could devastate cabbage and cauliflower crops.

Alice   Singleton

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Alice   Singleton
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The diamondback moth is a species often described as a 'super-pest'.
The diamondback moth is a species often described as a 'super-pest'.

New research has found ’exceptionally high’ numbers of the diamondback moth are arriving in the UK and Europe, threatening cabbage and cauliflower crops.

 

Scientists at Rothamsted Research have said if summer weather is warm and favourable for the reproduction of moths, there could be an explosion in the number of moths by the end of the season.

 

The last time such high numbers were recorded was back in 1996, and scientists predict this year could be even worse.

 

Chris Shortall, research scientist and coordinator of the Rothamsted light-trap network said they had seen in two nights the number of diamondback moths they usually record in a year.

 

Resistance

 

The diamondback moth is often described as a ’super-pest’ due to its resistance to most insecticides.

 

As well as affecting cabbage and cauliflowers, the ’super-pest’ is threatening to any brassica, including spring oil seed rape and mustard, a large proportion of which is grown for Colemans.

 

Mr Shortall said: "I’m concerned for cabbage and cauliflower growers, which is why I wanted to inform the relevant organisations and growers as early as possible.

 

"If the summer weather is warm and favourable for the reproduction of the moths we could see an explosion in the number of the moths by the end of the season."

 

Senior scientist at Rothamsted Research, Dr Steve Foster said growers should seek advice from their agronomists and authorised advisers as to how to manage the pest in their farms.

 


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