Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 March 2009
During 3 years a total of ten crops of winter rape and two crops of spring rape were sampled for insect pests and pest damage once or twice a week from the green bud stage to just before harvest. The most common pests were Meligethes aeneusFab., and Ceutorhynchus assimilisPayk.; the former was usually the more numerous, especially on spring rape crops. Ceutorhynchus quadridensPanz. and Dasyneura brassicaeWinn. were less abundant. C. assimilisand M. aeneus immigrated to winter rape crops when temperatures exceeded 15 °C. Maximum infestation of M. aeneus occurred either at the green bud stage, or when flowering began or at full flower depending on temperature; maximum infestation of G. assimilis occurred during flowering, which varied in time from mid to late May. In response to changing temperatures successive waves of immigration sometimes occurred. Immigration to spring rape occurred at green bud stage.
The two methods used for sampling pests, sweep nets and water traps, gave different results. Water trap collections primarily reflected pest flight, and were not necessarily related to the pest population on the crop.
Ovary maturation of M. aeneus occurred between their emergence from hibernation and migration to winter rape. They began laying 3 weeks after their arrival on winter rape but immediately they arrived on spring rape. The proportion of male to female M. aeneus present on crops was variable. C. assimilis fed for 3–4 weeks after their arrival on winter rape before their ovaries developed and they mated.
On both winter and spring rape the number of M. aeneus declined during flowering and that of C. assimilis declined while pods were maturing. Their decline on winter rape was associated with their emigration to new host plants. New generation M. aeneus emerged before winter and spring rape were harvested, and new generation C. assimilis emerged before spring rape but not winter rape was harvested.
The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to pest control.