Research reports on aphids, slugs and wireworm pests of potatoes

AHDB Potatoes-funded research projects on aphids and virus management, targetted application of molluscicides and the biology and control of wireworms.
Click on a project title to access more information on the project, including the final report.

Aphid monitoring

11120050 Effect of network thinning on the performance of the AHDB Potatoes aphid monitoring scheme (2018) 

  • impact of having fewer yellow water traps on the likelihood that aphids would be detected and the assessment of virus risk 

807/216 Aphid monitoring as a management tool in seed production (1997-2002)

  • to establish the relationships between aphid incidence and the spread of PVY
  • comparison of aphid numbers and PVY vector pressure between sites in the same region (within 5km)
  • incidence of PVY in weeds
  • mature plant resistance to PVY

Aphid and virus management in potato crops

11120177 Aphid management to minimise the spread of non-persistent viruses in seed potato crops (2020-2022)

  • comparison of the effectiveness of a full insecticide programme, mineral oils, an adjuvant spray oil, straw mulch or a vetch inter-row crop (± mineral oils) in minimising PVY transmission

R428 Aphids and virus transmission in seed crops (2009-2012)

  • to verify the aphids that are important in the transmission of PVY and recommend changes to the Relative Efficiency Factor (REF) values used in aphid monitoring schemes
  • virus propensity of different varieties
  • surveys of virus levels in volunteer potatoes
  • the use of yellow water traps vs suction traps for aphid monitoring

R449 Evaluating the effectiveness of mineral oils in minimising the spread of non-persistent viruses in potato seed crops in GB (2011-2014)

  • comparison of the effectiveness of insecticide programmes or spray oil programmes in minimising PVY transmission
  • blight control when commonly used fungicides were applied with or without a mineral oil
  • assessment of mineral oil use on crop phytotoxicity and seed crop inspectability
  • literature review on the use and efficacy of mineral oils in reducing virus transmission

807/204 Novel strategies for aphid control using entomopathogenic fungi (1999-2003)

  • distribution of the entomopathogenic fungus, Pandora neoaphidis, within and between field margins and crops
  • factors affecting P. neoaphidis infection (e.g., aphid species and host plants)
  • molecular and biological tools to characterise different isolates of P. neoaphidis


Development of an environmentally sustainable and commercially viable approach to the control of the grey field slug, Deroceras reticulatum (2019-2021)

  • follow-on from 11120022 (see below)
  • slug patch location is stable providing a “standing target” for control measures
  • historical assessments of soil structure (soil maps) were stable for up to 8 years so could be used for targetting patch treatment with molluscicides
  • a prototype patch treatment procedure demonstrated savings in the total crop area treated with molluscicide

11120025 Evaluation of the efficacy and timing of molluscicide treatments (2015-2017)

  • comparative efficacy of ferric phosphate, biocontrol (Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita [Nemaslug]) and metaldehyde for slug management in potatoes

 11120022 PhD: Utilising the patchy distribution of slugs to optimise targeting of control: improved sustainability through precision application (2015-2018)

  • evaluated the stability of slug patches in fields and methods for locating them
  • radio frequency identification tags used to track slugs


R268 Sustainable long-term management of wireworms on potato (2006-2011)

  • molecular techniques to distinguish between the different wireworm species 
  • effect of rotational factors on wireworm populations
  • interpretation of pheromone trap catches
  • biofumigation and wireworm management