Emergency Vine Weevil summit hears industry hopes and fears

Leading nursery crop consultant John Adlam has advised an emergency summit, called to help ornamental growers facing increasing challenges from vine weevil, that horticulture may need to become tolerant of low levels of the "number one pest" in a regulatory environment that means it is thriving.

John Adlam speaking during the Emergency Summit on vine weevil
John Adlam speaking during the Emergency Summit on vine weevil

Adlam was speaking during a panel debate chaired by HW's editor Kate Lowe, which heard representatives from manufacturers, distributors, retailers and growers outline their view of the most challenging issues in relation to managing vine weevil.  

On the panel was Bayer's Colin Mumford who said keeping an eye on changing regulations was his biggest area of concern, as products are withdrawn. He said neonicotinoids were the "elephant in the room" and that thiacloprid and imidacloprid were "chalk and cheese" and it needs emphasising that thiacloprid is safe for bees.

Grower John Richards said "the unknown" is his biggest concern about the pest, while Darby Nursery Stock's Alastair Hazell said control was about "detail" and making sure the "weakest link" on the nursery took as much responsibility for control as everyne else. He said he gave £2 for each weevil found as a reward.

Aylett's plant buyer Marcus Cousins said his biggest worry was not being able to give customers a product that will solve their problem.

ICL's Andrew Wilson said justifying use of products to the wider media and public so retailers feel confident they are safe to stock was the biggest issue from his perspective.

Fargro's Dr Paul Sopp meanwhile said there was no "silver bullet" product anymore and growers were going to have to learn to work with a number of tools to achieve 80-90 per cent reduction in vine weevils, including integrated pest management.  Nematodes and biopesticides were two big areas of discussion at the event.

ADAS's Jude Bennison said the dearth of research funds was her biggest issue, but the AHDB levy helped with that.

  • A full report of the event which was organised by the HTA with Horticulture Week as media partner and supported by Fargro, ICL, BASF and Bayer, will feature in the next issue of Horticulture Week magazine, out on Friday 22nd July.
  • A video of the debate will be available shortly on the Horticulture Week website. 
  • For more information on vine weevil management, see HW's factsheet here.
  • For more information on plant health including pest and disease alerts, go here.

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