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Insects. 2020 Feb 11;11(2). pii: E118. doi: 10.3390/insects11020118.

Phenology of the Diamondback Moth (Plutella xylostella) in the UK and Provision of Decision Support for Brassica Growers.

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Rothamsted Research, Department of Computational and Analytical Sciences, West Common, Harpenden, Hertfordshire AL5 2JQ, UK.
Warwick Crop Centre, School of Life Sciences, Wellesbourne Campus, University of Warwick, Wellesbourne, Warwick CV35 9EF, UK.


In the UK, severe infestations by Plutella xylostella occur sporadically and are due mainly to the immigration of moths. The aim of this study was to develop a more detailed understanding of the phenology of P. xylostella in the UK and investigate methods of monitoring moth activity, with the aim of providing warnings to growers. Plutella xylostella was monitored using pheromone traps, by counting immature stages on plants, and by accessing citizen science data (records of sightings of moths) from websites and Twitter. The likely origin of migrant moths was investigated by analysing historical weather data. The study confirmed that P. xylostella is a sporadic but important pest, and that very large numbers of moths can arrive suddenly, most often in early summer. Their immediate sources are countries in the western part of continental Europe. A network of pheromone traps, each containing a small camera sending images to a website, to monitor P. xylostella remotely provided accessible and timely information, but the particular system tested did not appear to catch many moths. In another approach, sightings by citizen scientists were summarised on a web page. These were accessed regularly by growers and, at present, this approach appears to be the most effective way of providing timely warnings.


Brassica crop; Plutella xylostella; citizen science; decision support; migrant moths; migration; monitoring; phenology; pheromone trap

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