SASA's small team of entomologists identify invertebrates and provide specialist advice in support of Scottish agriculture, horticulture and apiculture. The services provided by the team can be broken down into four main areas of function.
Providing identification and advice on aphid numbers in Scottish suction traps in support of the Scottish seed potato industry
Aphids are particularly important pests of potatoes as they spread viruses within crops, significantly reducing the yield and quality. We operate a network of four suction traps within Scotland, identifying aphids caught in these traps and providing a weekly analysis on numbers and virus risk during the seed potato growing season. Reports are available on SASA's web pages as soon as they are completed. We also offer weekly email reports to interested parties; please contact Fiona Highet if you would like to be included in the weekly email bulletin.
As we have over 40 years' of standardised data and specimens, our aphid dataset is also a useful tool for looking at invertebrate population dynamics and how they respond to environmental change. Our datasets are available for researchers, and are listed in several information gateways, such as the UK-EOF (environmental observation framework). If you would like to use our data or would like further information about the data we hold, please contact Jon Pickup.
Running an aphid monitoring programme in support of the seed potato classification scheme
The level of virus in a seed potato crop is an essential factor in the classification process. We aim to identify seed potato crops in which aphids have not been successfully controlled. Crops identified are subject to further tuber testing at the end of the growing season to ensure that they meet the strict criteria laid down by the Scottish seed potato classification system.
Providing identification and technical advice on non-native quarantine invertebrate pests
SASA's entomologists identify invertebrates suspected to be quarantine pests for SG plant health inspectors and in response to queries by members of the public. Where a non-native pest species is identified, we provide advice to prevent it's establishment and spread within Scotland. The public plays an important role in preventing the introduction and spread of non-native pests into Scotland and Europe. If you suspect you may have found a quarantine pest, please capture it in a sealed container and contact your local Scottish Government Agriculture and Rural Delivery Division Area Office or contact Fiona Highet for further advice.
For information on the Citrus Longhorn Beetle, see the SG website.
Honey Bee Health diagnosis and advice
SASA provides disease diagnosis and advice in support of Scottish honeybees. An important part of this role is the identification of notifiable pests and diseases, such as foulbrood diseases, Tropilaelaps mites and Small Hive Beetle (SHB). If you think you may have a notifiable pest or disease, please contact your local SG Area Office in the first instance to speak to a bee inspector. For contact details see the SG website.
We also provide a Varroa testing service for Scottish beekeepers who are unsure if their colonies have this pest to ensure that they can start necessary treament to protect their bees. If you would like to send a hive insert or scraping sample to SASA for testing, please send it to the address below -
Bee Diseases, SASA, Roddinglaw Road, EH12 9FJ.