Research aims to keep aphid numbers in check
In this edition Heather Briggs describes novel but potentially effective methods for aphid management. Dr Mike Birkett of Rothamsted Research has been using naturally-derived plant elicitors to trigger the crop’s defences against insect attack while Prof Thomas Döring of the University of Bonn, Germany, reports that studies on Finnish seed potato crops have indicated that straw mulch can consistently reduce transmission of potato virus Y. He believes it is likely that straw mulch deters aphids from alighting on the plants. This may be a result of lower visual contrast of leaves against the straw compared to a normal background of bare soil.