This book offers students of applied entomology and zoology an introduction to the insects and mites of agricultural or horticultural importance in the British Isles and in other parts of northwestern Europe.

In Part I, insects and mites are described in general terms, usually down to family level. The primary intention is to provide background information on the features of the main groups of pests and beneficial species (e.g. parasites, parasitoids and predators), largely using descriptive characters capable of appreciation without undue experience or the need for specialist equipment other than a hand lens or a low-power microscope.

In Part II, emphasis is placed on pests of field, glasshouse, orchard and plantation crops. Owing to limitations of space, cursory mention only is made of the vast range of pests found on ornamental plants and forest trees; however, pests of several minor crops that may on occasions require the attention of crop protectionists and practitioners are included, especially where published information on them is limited or not readily available. Within the various orders, individual families are treated in the same systematic sequence as described in Part I; however, within each family (for ease of reference) the various genera are considered alphabetically, without regard to their systematic hierarchy. Within genera, the main pest species are described and details provided of their biology, host range and economic importance; where appropriate, these entries are followed by additional entries or notes on other species. For clarity of presentation, synonyms for names of the pests are excluded from the text. However, frequently used alternative names (not all of which are strictly synonyms) are cross-referenced in the general index; this should enable readers to trace pests known to them, or cited in other literature, under different names. Names of authorities for species are given in full but abbreviated (as shown) for Fabricius (F.) and Linnaeus (L.). Within the text, plants are referred to under their common name if a crop or under their scientific name if a wild host; the scientific names of crops and the common names of wild plants are listed on pages 271 et seq. and 275 et seq, respectively.

Details of pest control measures are deliberately excluded from the text, as these all too rapidly become outdated; also, general statements on pest control measures were not thought to be of great value in a book such as this. Readers requiring information on pest control or pest management should consult more specific (ideally, regularly revised) books, booklets or leaflets produced by agrochemical companies, extension services and other bodies - examples of publications dealing with pest control on UK crops include: the Pest and Disease Management Handbook (published by Blackwell Science and BCPC); and The UK Pesticide Guide (published annually by CAB International and BCPC). Matters such as pest population growth and development have also been excluded from the present book, as these were considered more appropriate for discussion within a publication dealing with the principles of pest management.

In compiling this account of crop pests, I am indebted to numerous friends and colleagues, either for their help in obtaining material or for their guidance on specific issues. Particular thanks are offered to my wife and to D.J. Carter, B.J. Emmett, A.W. Jackson, M.J. Lole, D. MacFarlane, Mrs H.M. Maher, Dr W. Powell, H. Riedel, Dr G. Rimpel, P.R. Seymour, S.J. Tones, R.A. Umpelby and J.E.B. Young. Most of the illustrations have been based on specimens in my own collection. Other invaluable sources of material included the insect collections formerly housed in the now disbanded ADAS Entomology Departments at Bristol, Cambridge and Starcross - regrettably, these reference collections (all of which included important material dating back to the 1920s and beyond) no longer exist. Finally, I am indebted to Professor T. Lewis CBE for his critical appraisal of the final manuscript and suggestions for its improvement.

David V. Alford Cambridge May 1999


The Main Groups of Insects and Mites

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