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‘Biblical’ Plagues of Moth Could Decimate UK Crops

Posted by feww on June 14, 2016

“Once the progeny of this influx arrives in mid-July, numbers could be biblical”

UK researchers say cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and oil seed rape crops could be “devastated” by tens of millions of diamondback moths thought to have invaded the UK in the past week, said a report.

The population is said to be 100 times larger than than the number that arrive from continental Europe in the entire year.

The species have been described as a “super pest” because it is believed to be resistant to multiple insecticides.

“An alert has been issued by researchers at the Rothamsted Research in Harpenden in Hertfordshire.”

Plutella xylostella (diamondback moth); larva – intercepted on Erysimum (wallflower) from Germany at Atlanta International Airport, Plant Protection & Quarantine. Georgia, USA. © Charles Olsen/USDA APHIS PPQ/ – CC BY-NC 3.0 US

A two mile cloud of moths was reported on Saturday night near Leominster. An eyewitness  reported that it was like “driving through rain.”

Plutella xylostella (diamondback moth); larval damage in the field – host plant, cabbage collards and kale (Brassica oleracea L.) © Alton N. Sparks Jr/University of Georgia/ – CC BY 3.0 US

“A trap in Oxfordshire collected 173 moths in one night, another in Guernsey collected 310, in Bedfordshire it was 260, in North Yorkshire it was 71, in County Durham it was 61 and in Berkshire more than 1,000 were trapped over three nights,” the report said.

“There are swarms of them, a bit like plagues of locusts – there are so many of them that they seem like a brown cloud,” a researcher at Rothamsted Research described how they devastate crops.

Plutella xylostella (diamondback moth); adult at rest in the field. Michigan, USA.
© David Cappaert/Michigan State University/ – CC BY-NC 3.0 US

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