The role of aphids as vectors of potato viruses is of concern to the Scottish seed potato industry. SASA operates a national network of suction traps collecting information about aphid abundance and movement, and providing advice on the risk of virus transmission and the need for aphid control.
The suction trap data contribute to a UK network of traps operated by Rothamsted Research. Weekly aphid bulletins are published by the Rothamsted Insect Survey. The data also contribute to EXAMINE - an EU funded project within the Concerted Action Programme, comprising scientists involved in the collection of national data on aphid distribution, phenology and abundance throughout Europe.
The Entomology laboratory provides technical support to the Aphid Monitoring Programme, introduced into the Seed Potato Classification Scheme in 1992. This programme ensures that seed stocks on which aphids have been poorly controlled can be identified, and that subsequent classification of these stocks is dependent upon a post-harvest tuber test for the presence of viruses.
A development programme to improve our understanding of potato virus epidemiology is underway and has improved the accuracy with which virus levels in seed crops can be forecast.
See the Scottish Aphid Bulletins page for more information.
The Potato Council (PCL) funds 100 in-crop water traps in the major seed growing areas of Great Britain. The trap contents are analysed weekly at the Food and Environment Research Agency in York, with results posted on the PCL website. Users of the service can also sign up to receive e-mail and SMS alerts when Peach-potato aphids (Myzus persicae) are found in their region or when aphid catches in any trap in their region exceed a weekly threshold. Comparative information with previous seasons is also available. NB The PCL site is only available to PCL levy payers and corporate members.