Tests of biologicals fail against insects

Biological pest controls have been ineffective against four out of eight insect pests of vegetables in trials, according to ADAS principal research scientist Tim O'Neill.

The ongoing trials under the Horticultural Development Company and HortLINK-backed SCEPTRE programme, at different sites, have tested efficacy of novel biological and chemical agents alongside existing control products for a range of field-grown vegetables.

"Conventional products were not very good against leek thrips either," said O'Neill. "We also found that most biologicals had no effect on downy mildew - the majority actually made it worse."

The programme has two further years to run. "Its aim is to develop integrated protection programmes," O'Neill explained. "We still believe that there is potential there."

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