Lucy’s research aims to understand the insect pest ‘cabbage stem flea beetle’, a growing pest in the UK, causing losses to oilseed rape yields of around 5% a year.
In 2018, the UK introduced a total ban on the use of neonicotinoid seed dressings – one of the last control methods against cabbage stem flea beetle. Alternative options for controlling cabbage stem flea beetle are fairly limited.
Only pyrethroid sprays remain as chemical control option of CSFB. However, resistance to pyrethroids in cabbage stem flea beetle has been observed in the UK, and across Europe.
Therefore, an alternative to chemical control is required. The aim of this research is to identify innate resistance in oilseed rape to cabbage stem flea beetle, which could be incorporated into field varieties of crops to reduce feeding and yield loss.
To complete her research, Lucy uses various entomological and molecular biology techniques.