NERC CASE PHD STUDENT Alistair Campbell PhD, Improving pest control services

Alistair Campbell’s PhD investigated improving pest control services and beneficial insect conservation in cider apple orchards using multi-functional flower mixes and was published in 2014.  The work was sponsored by Syngenta and run on Bulmers orchards and a number of conclusions were drawn:

  • Mixed flower types attract a greater diversity of beneficial insects in apple orchards than mixes targeted to certain pollinators
  • Some groups of beneficial insects may be affected by small changes in flower mix
  • Some evidence for reduced leaf damage from increased predatory insect numbers, with no loss of yield
  • Pollination can be a limiting factor for yield in cider apple orchard, with >80% of flower visits from wild pollinators
  • There is a positive relationship between fruit set and solitary bees’ flower visits
  • Provision of nesting sites for solitary bees would be beneficial

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