Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI)
Federal Research Centre
for Cultivated Plants
Prof. Dr. Peter Zwerger
38104 Braunschweig, Germany
Ms Kristin Hildebrandt
Tel: +49 (0)531 299-4501
Fax: +49 (0)531 299-3008
Branch offices in
Stahnsdorfer Damm 81
14532 Kleinmachnow, Germany
Tel: +49 (0)33203 48-0
Fax: +49 (0)33203 48-425
Dürener Straße 71
50189 Elsdorf/Rhld., Germany
Tel: +49 (0)2274 6446
Fax: +49 (0)2274 826-05
Yield losses and reductions in quality due to infestations with pest insects heavily influence agriculture even until today. The aim of integrated plant protection is to keep the pest insect populations below the economic damage thresholds and at the same time decrease the effects of pesticides on the environment. That’s why our focus lies on research of the biology and ecology of pest insects and their antagonists as well as on the problem of spreading insecticide resistance.
Harmful insects as a yield decreasing factor have always played an important role in agriculture and continue to do so even today. Therefore, the integrated plant protection tries to combine the use of all economically and ecologically suitable methods to ensure an efficient, economically tolerable control of harmful insects.
On the other hand, the usage of insecticides should be reduced to the necessary minimum to minimise any negative impacts on the environment.
This requires a very detailed knowledge. But even today there are knowledge gaps concerning our understanding of pest insects that need to be closed, currently for example about the wireworms or the rape stem flea beetle.
There are various reasons for these gaps. The rapid change in agricultural production methods is one factor. Additionally, due to the climate change, the ranges of many pest insects shift northward, as they now are able to survive in more northern latitudes.
Adding to this, the social demands concerning the quality of pesticides in terms of the protection of consumers, users and environment have increased considerably over the last decades. This results in a decrease of active ingredients of pesticides on the market. In consequence this causes an increasing selection pressure towards the development of resistances against the remaining insecticides. This constant development can be observed for example with various oilseed rape pests.
The Institute does also do research on non-chemical solutions to combat harmful insects, as well as on measures to enable a precise timing of insecticide applications to minimise chemical plant protection measures.
Antagonists (e.g.: parasitoids: Ichneumon flies, predators: ladybugs) are able to contain the population of harmful insects to a certain degree, this approach is a difficult undertaking but none the less a stated ambition of this Institute.
This also requires the prevention of negative impacts of pesticides on these species.