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Teagasc Improve Aphid Monitoring Infrastructure

In July 2021 Teagasc completed the construction of a 12.2m high insect suction tower at Ashtown Research Centre in Dublin. The tower will help to build understanding of aphid and insect ecology in Ireland. Researchers Michael Gaffney, Ashtown & Louise McNamara, Oak Park are involved in this research

The completion of the insect suction tower at Ashtown Research Centre in North Dublin brings the number of permanent towers to three. The others already constructed and operational are in Carlow and Cork. This suction tower network is based on the design from Rothamsted Research Aphid Monitoring network, which is the longest running insect experiment in the world.

Understanding aphids

These towers will allow researchers in the Horticulture and Crop Science Departments to build a better understanding on the impact of climatic conditions on aphid movement and the epidemiology of viruses associated with aphid vectors. Work from Rothamsted in the 1970s indicated that the aphid catch in each suction tower is reflective of the aphid catches from approximately 80 km diameter around the tower. Therefore, the network will allow Teagasc to make observations, which cover much of the East, South-East and South Ireland. These areas capture much of the horticultural and tillage activity in Ireland.

Mobile towers

In addition several mobile towers have also been purchased and can be extended between 2m to 6m in height which can be used to monitor on-farm locations and different target insect species as need arises.

This infrastructure will help to build our understanding of aphid and insect ecology in Ireland and ultimately allow the development of better knowledge transfer to the crop growing sectors in Ireland.

For more information, please contact:

Michael Gaffney or Louise McNamara