Nature-based solutions for pest control

Target pest: sugarcane aphid

Trialled pest control: neem trees (grown in home gardens and escapees)

Research implemented by Ben Kelly (MRes student, Newcastle University, 2022-23) under co-supervision of Dr Marion Pfeifer and Dr Dave George, Newcastle University

Project Aim – Investigate control methods for yellow sugarcane aphid, a widespread pest affecting sugarcane crops across much of North America and the southern parts of Africa.

Yellow sugarcane aphid feeds on the leaves of the sugarcane crop, potentially causing leaf senescence and thus reduced yield for each crop. Management methods for this pest are little known, thus its difficult to control and reduce populations.

Organic biopesticide was sprayed on a defined plot, to test its effects against a synthetic chemical pesticide. A structure was constructed around the plot to protect the experiment from the elements.

The external environments of each sugarcane field were also investigated, aiming to gain understanding of the drivers that cause yellow sugarcane aphid to attack a plot of cane.