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Safe storage of grain by preventing and controlling the development of mite pests - AR0604

Main objective
The main objective of this project is to address the increasingly serious problem of mite infestation in stored cereal and oilseeds. In order to make substantial progress in an area where existing information is still very limited, the research will focus on four topics. These will be a) methods by which to prevent the occurrence and build up of infestation, b) methods which will allow action threshold levels of populations to be established, c) deeper understanding of mite physiology by which to limit population growth, and d) preliminary work on the use of natural enemies as novel methods of control. This work is difficult but essential because without it, mite presence, which is already widespread in the food chain, will rapidly worsen and threaten the health of human and animal consumers.
Policy relevance
The proposed work is relevant to policy because it will provide an urgently needed basis for raising the quality of human food and animal feed while minimising the use of pesticides. In doing this, it contributes directly to DEFRA Objective 3 and indirectly to Objectives 6 and 7.
Use of results
The results of the proposed work will be used either directly or, given its strategic nature, as a basis for subsequent applied research, to contribute to the integrated strategy for infestation control in stored grain.
The overall scientific objective is to conduct strategic research which will contribute to the integrated control strategy for mite infestation by providing a) a basic understanding of the growth and behaviour of mite populations in cereals and oilseeds in order to hold populations in check, b) methodology for the reliable assessment of grain quality, and c) novel, effective, options for mite control. This will be achieved through the following four primary objectives.

1. To prevent the build up of mite infestation, work will be undertaken to identify and suggest how to eliminate the source of infestation and to identify the most important gaps in present knowledge of mite development.

2. To provide hard information about mite infestation upon which to base judgements on the quality of grain bulks, research will be undertaken to optimise and validate monitoring methods for mite presence and to establish the basis on which to define thresholds for action strategies.

3. To develop an understanding of mite physiology to limit population growth in grain bulks and fabric in order to prolong the useful life of existing methods, identify other related agents of potential use and establish a firm foundation of basic knowledge on which to develop novel methods in the future.

4. To investigate the potential of natural enemies for control of storage mite pests and form the basis of methods which will meet trade, legislative and consumer needs.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Safe storage of grain by preventing and controlling the development of mite pests   (5820k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2002

To: 2006

Cost: £614,325
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Central Science Laboratory
Grain Pests              
Pest and Weed Control              
Pest Control              
Plants and Animals              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Sustainable Production              
Fields of Study
Arable Crops