Industry representative: Will Dixon, A.R. Neaves & Sons
AHDB Horticulture project cost: £44,465
Earwigs are important generalist predators in both apple and pear orchards. They play a key part in regulating populations of several highly damaging pests including woolly aphid and other aphid pests, mussel scale, codling moth and pear sucker. Recent laboratory tests and field experiments at EMR and on UK growers’ orchards and experiments by other European scientists have indicated that several very commonly used insecticides including thiacloprid (Calypso), indoxacarb (Steward), chlorpyrifos and spinosad (Tracer) have harmful effects on earwigs and could be responsible for the low populations of these important predators in some orchards. However, growers need to be able to use products containing acetamaprid (Gazelle), thiacloprid (Calypso), abamectin (Agrimec) and spirodiclofen (Envidor) for control of aphids, mussel scale, weevils, capsids, pear sucker and sawfly.
This project will build on research carried out by EMR in HDC project TF 196 which showed that earwigs can be disrupted by unsafe crop protection programmes. It will test how to integrate these key pesticides into pest management programmes without causing harm to earwig populations in the orchard. It will further investigate the sub-lethal effects (growth and reproduction) that these pesticides have on nymph and adult earwigs in highly replicated laboratory trials.
Aims and objectives:
Benefits to industry:
• The industry will be provided with independently obtained information on the relative safety of critical orchard insecticides on earwigs; important natural enemies of several damaging pests
• Growers will be able to judge when best to use which insecticides for essential pest control tasks such as control of codling moth, aphids, mussel scale and pear sucker
• There will be less problems with many important pests if earwig populations are allowed to thrive