How will climate change affect trees, their insect pests, the natural enemies of those pests and the way all three interact?
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We are developing better prediction, monitoring, and identification systems and, most importantly, using weapons provided by nature - microbial control agents such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and insect parasitic nematodes – to combat the threats.
Initial focus is on the most important pest of British and Irish forestry, the pine weevil Hylobius abietis with trials of fungal and nematode agents already showing real promise as future management options.
Other pests to be targeted are likely to include horse chestnut leafminer - an exotic insect first recorded in Britain in 2002 - vine weevil - a cosmopolitan pest of hardy ornamentals and trees - and wireworms that affect the roots of both grasses and trees.
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