Over the summer you may have noticed strange people dressed like ghost busters in the oilseed rape or wheat field! Well these are researchers from Rothamsted looking at how farmers could promote natural pest control to protect their crops.
Some insects are good for crops, for example, bees that pollinate them and hoverflies, ladybirds and some tiny wasps that eat the pests. These are the farmer’s friends and the researchers are trying to find ways to encourage them.
This four year Defra funded project will help test whether natural biocontrol in wheat is better when it is next to an oilseed rape crop than when it is next to another wheat crop. This will help to decide how best to arrange crops in the countryside to encourage the good insects and discourage the pests.
The insects collected up by the researchers noisy ‘bug vacuum’ will be identified and counted over the winter and we plan to update you with results next year. For more information on the work Rothamsted Research do go to their Website.