Fight against the Garden Chafer

Fight against the Garden Chafer: International Pheromone Systems is looking for trial sites as part of its work to develop lures and traps to help monitor and control an insect pest that is menacing golf courses, race courses, amenity gardens and parks across much of the UK.

Dr Sam Jones, Technical Manager for IPS, explains: “Garden Chafer beetles are turf pests and are most problematic in locations where turf must be kept pristine.

Fight against the Garden Chafer

Fight against the Garden Chafer

“While adults can cause some damage from feeding it is the grubs (larvae) that are the most damaging as they feed and develop on the roots of the grass. In certain locations populations of the Garden Chafer can proliferate. There has been an increasing demand for an environmentally friendly, biocontrol method of managing these pests particularly following the ban of some pesticides. We estimate that a typical golf course would probably need 8 – 12 traps to efficiently monitor for these pests, dependent upon size, shape and planting.”

Monitoring provides early warning of a pest’s presence and identifies areas to be targeted, rather than treatments being applied to large regions where the beetle may not be present. Any trials would be expected to take place between May and July when the pests are usually most abundant.

“We don’t have a pheromone for either the Garden Chafer or the Welsh Chafer, so we currently use plant derived attractants which in the case of the Garden Chafer are floral odours. The hope is that our new lure formats will attract both species. This work will later be extended to the less damaging pests, the Rose Chafer and the Cockchafer,” Sam added.

Chafer larvae are distinguished by their “C” shaped body, which is white with a pale brown head. Garden chafer larvae reach up to 15 mm long when fully grown. Larvae feed on the roots of grasses which results in the formation of patches. Damage is often exacerbated by badgers and crows which like to dig into the turf to feed on the larvae.

“Damaged turf on sports pitches can sometimes impact on player welfare. Once weakened the turf may not provide adequate traction which can result in increased slips and falls and potential player injury.

“As well as injuries there can be loss of revenue for the facility if a sporting event has to be cancelled and the capital costs of replacing the damaged turf can often be substantial,” Sam explains.

International Pheromone Systems offers a nature-based approach and specialist knowledge for natural and safe solutions to monitor and manage pests in agricultural and domestic environments.

The company’s highly skilled entomologists find solutions from nature itself. Together with universities, scientific partners and growers, the IPS team works to find natural solutions to help reduce pesticide use and support integrated pest management (IPM) in agriculture, horticulture and forestry businesses.

A healthier, safer and more productive environment is achieved by using the natural behaviour of pests and finding the right pheromone combination and trapping solution specific to a particular species.

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Secret Valley Fight Water Reduction

Secret Valley Fight Water Reduction: The Secret Valley Golf Resort in Cyprus, managed by Troon Golf, has used PBS 150 from Aqua Aid Europe to combat a lack of water caused by climate change.

Cyprus is one of the hottest countries in Europe and has average temperatures nearing 30°C from June to September. During this time the average rainfall is 0mm with a small reprieve in September when it rises to 3mm.

Secret Valley Fight Water Reduction

Recently, rain during the winter months has reduced, leading to reductions in water around the island. This has caused Golf Course Superintendent, Derek Smith, to focus on methods of reducing hydrophobic conditions on the course.

Derek’s employment history has seen him work in warm climates before when at Palmares Golf Resort, Portugal, Alcanda Golf Course, Majorca and The Wave Golf Course, Oman, but a lack of water to manage heat, similar to what was experienced in the United Kingdom in the summer of 2018, was a challenge he had to address quickly.

Derek explained: “Due to climate changes the winters have changed in Cyprus with less and less rainfall falling. The dams are running at under 30% and they are our only source of water, so reductions from the water authorities have left us struggling for water.

“I have always been very water efficient as I truly understand how this is affecting the turf industry. Because we could not spend the value of water in our budget due to the cuts, we decided to use some of that money to help the plant in other ways. One by using a high-quality wetting agent and another by using growth retardants.

“We had already started using OARS HS and from my experience using them, I trust Aqua Aid products and their longevity. After meeting a representative from Aqua Aid Europe and explaining our issues it was decided that we’d try PBS150. We applied it once in the middle of May and during the summer months we saw a water reduction of around 30% and I’ve seen a much better sward density and far, far less isolated hydrophobic areas.

“For us, saving water is beneficial enough, but by not having to spot water we have reduced labour costs. I also hope that by using PBS 150 we can work on our very poor river silt soil and turn it into a healthier environment.”

PBS 150, or polyfunctional branched surfactant to use its full name, utilises multi-branched molecular technology to address the source of performance loss – biodegradation of the surfactant molecule by soil microbes.

It is designed to reduce hydrophobic conditions on a sustainable basis for five months or more, encouraging a pattern of hydration and re-hydration that improves the amount of available water in the soil profile to meet the metabolic demands of the plant. The 3D Multibranched technology  helps to even-out moisture difference in multiple directions, providing a great tool to give more control over moisture conditions.

By doing this the uniform movement of water into and through the soil matrix is restored and the stress tolerance is improved along with the turf quality and colour.

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