Co-ordinated strategy needed as a result of Emergency Vine Weevil Summit

At the Vine Weevil Summit this July, growers declared that more information is necessary to better understand effective measures for vine weevil control.

With a limited ‘tool kit’, crucial practices such as monitoring and using a number of preventative measures within an integrated pest management (IPM) approach was encouraged. It was also accepted that understanding vine weevil behaviour is key to successful control.

With nursery growers making up the majority of the audience, it was clear that a co-ordinated industry-led vine weevil centred strategy from all areas of the supply chain is needed.

“And this summit is the first step in working together as an industry. Pooling our knowledge and using all the tools we have in an integrated way to achieve control of this devastating pest” said consultant, John Adlam.

In a bid to set down an industry strategy to address the issue, the HTA, along with Bayer and ICL, instigated the summit that brought together the whole spectrum of the industry affected by vine weevil, to discuss effective methods of control that are available now.

“The demand for high quality pest-free plants is higher than ever and the nursery grower’s task is all the more strained because there is no ‘silver bullet’ control due to a limited choice and restrictions on substrate-incorporated insecticides,” said Jude Bennison, entomologist from ADAS.

Dr Colin Mumford from Bayer reminded growers of the importance of applying treatments at the full label rate, as this is the minimum amount required to achieve control. Dr Mumford said: “It’s important we embrace stewardship on these products and use them responsibly to give confidence to policy holders. Using them at the correct rates means complete control, it means that we will safeguard them for the future and, that the ever-mounting threat of resistance is mitigated.” Bayer are manufacturers of the systemic insecticide, Exemptor, for the control of black vine weevil and other major pests in ornamentals that can be used indoors and outdoors.

Alternative controls such as bio-pesticides and nematodes were discussed throughout the event and growers were encouraged to consider options available based on plant susceptibility, growth stage, crop culture (indoor/outdoor) and to home into the behaviour and life cycle of the vine weevil.

“It’s important to ‘break the cycle’ of the vine weevil and employ the best solution for the crop.  Plants may be susceptible to the pest at the larval stage, affecting the roots, the adult stage, damaging the foliage, or both. It’s Important to check with your young plant supplier to see if the plants are protected from vine weevil and if necessary treat young plants of susceptible species prior to potting. Look at nursery hygiene and keep newly susceptible species away from old stock if possible,” said Andrew Wilson, technical manager, ICL.

The overriding feeling from growers was that the information shared on control options needs to be co-ordinated and in response, the HTA are pulling together an information hub for vine weevil control hosted by on the HTA website.

John Adlam added “Ultimately, growers need to go away and draw up their own specific vine weevil control programme, based on the information discussed at the summit.”

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