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Migratory flight behaviour of the pollen beetle Meligethes aeneus

Mauchline, Alice L, Cook, Samantha M, Powell, Wilf, Chapman, Jason W, Osborne, Juliet L
Pest management science 2017 v.73 no.6 pp. 1076-1082
Brassica napus, Brassicogethes aeneus, Diptera, altitude, crops, ecology, flight, immigration, landscapes, migratory behavior, models, netting, pest management, pests, radar, suction traps
BACKGROUND: The field ecology of the pollen beetle Meligethes aeneus and its damaging effects on oilseed rape crops are well understood. However, the flight behaviour of M. aeneus, in particular the drivers for migratory movements across the landscape, is not well studied. We combined three established methodologies – suction traps, vertical‐looking radar and high‐altitude aerial netting – to demonstrate that M. aeneus flies at a range of altitudes at different points during its active season. RESULTS: By linking evidence of high‐altitude mass migration with immigration of pollen beetles into oilseed rape fields, we were able to ‘ground‐truth’ the results to characterise the seasonal movements of this pest across the landscape. CONCLUSION: We demonstrate that this novel combination of methodologies can advance our understanding of the population movements of pollen beetles and could provide an opportunity to develop predictive models to estimate the severity and timing of pest outbreaks. © 2017 The Authors. Pest Management Science published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society of Chemical Industry.