Insect Pest Collections

Culturing collected insect material allows the preservation of live reference collections and provides insect material for research. 

Our insect cultures are held in dedicated insect-rearing rooms which provide appropriate environment control. In addition, we use controlled environment cabinets to maintain insect cultures in duplicate and to provide flexibility to vary environmental conditions at different stages of insect life cycles.

The aphid culture collections comprise different genotypes of the peach-potato aphid Myzus persicae including insecticide-susceptible and -resistant clones. Some of these lineages date back many years and the oldest was collected in 1977. The collection includes almost all of the main 17 genotypes that have been found in the UK for the last 20 years. Most of these clones have now ceased to exist in the field. The responsibility of maintaining this unique aphid material is shared with Rothamsted Research. M. persicae has a worldwide distribution and is a vector of many economically-important plant viruses.

Insect Cultures leaflet



We also hold cultures of the English grain aphid Sitobion avenae (including an insecticide resistant clone), and a plant resistance-breaking biotype of the large raspberry aphid Amphorophora idaei. Our aphid research is particularly focussed on studying the molecular characterisation of aphids, aphid-plant interactions, virus transmission by aphids, and control of aphids by natural enemies.

The vine weevil, Otiorhynchus sulcatus, a damaging pest in soft fruit plantations, is collected annually and maintained in culture through all stages of its life cycle. Our vine weevil research aims to understand plant traits that deter adult insects and reduce plant injury from root-feeding larvae.

Our insect collections support a number of research projects funded by the Scottish Government, commercial partners, levy boards and academic funding sources.

For further informaiton contact:

Alison Karley (project manager)

Gaynor Malloch (Myzus persicae and Sitobion avenae collections)

Carolyn Mitchell (Vine weevil and Amphorophora idaei collections)