*Forecasting & monitoring vectors of virus yellows and their resistance to neonicotinoids

Project Detail

*Forecasting & monitoring vectors of virus yellows and their resistance to neonicotinoids

BACKGROUND - Brief overview of background to issue: The treatment of sugar beet seed with neonicotinoids remains one of the most effective pest control measures in agriculture. Nearly all sugar beet seed is now treated with this insecticide but the future of neonicotinoids is now uncertain. Indeed, its use has become one of the most contentious in modern agriculture due to its systemic nature and subsequent non-target effects (Godfray et al. 2014). The main issue is that the insecticide can be found in pollen and nectar which has been argued recently as the cause of pollinator decline, an emotive issue that resonates with the general public and, more widely, the EU (Henry 2012; Woodcock et al. 2016). Whilst sugar beet has no interaction with pollinators because the crop does not flower annually, there are widespread concerns that there will soon be a blanket ban across all crops, a view promoted by well-organised pressure groups. The political landscape Europe-wide is in a state of flux on this issue but should neonicotinoids be withdrawn; virus yellows could return to a situation not unlike the 1970s in which there were large-scale infections and consequently low yields. Myzus persicae, the vector of virus yellows, is the most economically important aphid pest worldwide. Myzus is currently susceptible to the neonicotinoid mode of action in the UK. However, target site resistance is now known from France and elsewhere in Europe (Bass et al. 2015). Resistance evolution and the predicted loss of the once common O and P UK clones (Malloch pers. comm.) suggest that there is additional uncertainty as to the future effectiveness of neonicotinoids in the UK.



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