Monday, 20 June 2016

'Biblical' moth influx threatens to devastate crops

By Pallab GhoshScience correspondent, BBC News
14 June 2016

Scientists have learned that cabbage and cauliflower crops could potentially be "devastated" by a species of moth arriving from continental Europe.

BBC News understands that tens of millions of diamondback moths are thought to have come to the UK in the past week.

This is 100 times the number that arrive in the entire year.

Researchers describe the species as a "super pest" because it is thought to be resistant to several insecticides.

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

The Twitter feed @migrantmothUK reported a two mile cloud of moths on Saturday night near Leominster. One subscriber to the feed reported that it was like "driving through rain".
Steve Nash, who administers the feed, said much worse was yet to come.

"Once the progeny of this influx arrives in mid-July, numbers could be biblical," he said.
Dr Steve Foster, who works at Rothamsted Research described how they devastate crops.
"There are swarms of them, a bit like plagues of locusts - there are so many of them that they seem like a brown cloud."

Dr Foster and his colleagues learned of the infestation on Friday. They will study the moths to see if they can identify an insecticide that can be used against them as a matter of urgency.

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