Experts from across the industry unite to help provide solutions for managing infestations of leatherjackets using Integrated Pest Management, which are causing extreme damage to turf this year as their populations reach all-time highs.
The Emergency Summit for the Control of Leatherjacket using Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which took place via a virtual platform on Wednesday 14th July 2021, was well attended with more than 100 people linking up to view live throughout the 4-hour event.
Leatherjacket larvae are causing extensive damage to turf – this year, these pests have reached an all-time high, due to removal of toxic chemical pesticides from the market, and the fact that they have thrived in quiet, unused areas during the COVID pandemic. To help the turf industry deal with the problem, the World Bioprotection Forum (WBF) organised this emergency summit, which focussed on the use of cultural, physical and mechanical techniques, bioprotectants (formerly known as biopesticides), and chemicals, to manage leatherjacket infestations in the golf/sports turf and amenity sector.
After Dr Minshad Ansari (CEO of Bionema, and Chairman of the WBF) welcomed the participants, he provided glimpse of devastation caused by leatherjackets.
This was followed by speakers offering a variety of approaches to manage these pests, such as:
- Greg Evans, a Consultant Agronomist, presented his experience on ‘The rise of the leatherjackets’ in recent years, explaining how various factors have likely led to population explosions across the UK, resulting in devastating damage;
- Dr Colin Mumford (Bayer Crop Science), who explained cultural, physical and mechanical management;
- Professor Ralf-Udo Ehlers (e-nema), who has been investigating the use of bacteria (Baccillus thuringiensis israelensis) and nematodes as a biological control method;
- Glenn Kirby (Syngenta), who spoke on current chemistries and recommendations for their emergency use.
- Dr Minshad Ansari (Bionema), who explained how and when to apply beneficial nematodes – an increasingly popular and effective biological option for leatherjacket control, that gives the best results if certain application rules are followed.
Experts agreed that there is no quick fix for leatherjacket infestations but IPM can be an effective management strategies that can help control this pest. As explained by Peter Corbett (Rigby Taylor), the key to success is using an integrated approach – combining some or all of the above approaches in a way that is sustainable not just to the environment, but also to businesses in the golf/sports turf and amenity sector.
A highlight of the day was a very encouraging case study of leatherjacket control at Neath Golf Club, by Head Greenkeeper Mark Tucker. Mr Tucker explained how beneficial nematodes had resolved the leatherjacket problems which he was suffering. Importantly, continued good management has kept these pests at bay.
Similarly, Simon Johnson, Grounds Management Association Regional Pitch Advisor Southwest, explained how nematodes were successful was at Constantine cricket club.
“Leatherjackets have caused such terrible problems this year, that many greenkeepers are in despair,” said Dr Minshad Ansari, Chairman of the WBF (organisers of the Summit). “I hope this Emergency Summit has shown them that it is possible to manage these pests, and to reverse the damage they have done to turf across the UK.
Anyone wanting more information or advice is welcome to get in touch with the WBF, and we will try to put you in touch with one of our members who will be able to help you. Visit https://www.worldbioprotectionforum.com/ to find out more about the WBF or to contact us.
Dr Sarah Harding
The Biopesticide Summit is the annual meeting of the World BioProtection Forum (WBF) and its members. The WBF is a non-profit organisation for encouraging collaboration across the biocontrol industry and academia. The WBF was founded in 2019 to encourage the successful development and commercialisation of novel biological control products for agricultural pests and diseases. To join the WBF, or for more information, please visit https://www.worldbioprotectionforum.com/