• flight threshold;
  • feeding;
  • oviposition;
  • Brassica napus;
  • decision support;
  • risk assessment



Pollen beetle (Meligethes aeneus F.) management in oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) has become an urgent issue in the light of insecticide resistance. Risk prediction advice has relied upon flight temperature thresholds, while risk assessment uses simple economic thresholds. However, there is variation in the reported temperature of migration, and economic thresholds vary widely across Europe, probably owing to climatic factors interacting with beetle activity and plant compensation for damage. The effect of temperature on flight, feeding and oviposition activity of M. aeneus was examined in controlled conditions.


Escape from a release vial was taken as evidence of flight and was supported by video observations. The propensity to fly followed a sigmoid temperature–response curve between 6 and 23 °C; the 10, 25 and 50% flight temperature thresholds were 12.0–12.5 °C, 13.6–14.2 °C and 15.5–16.2 °C, respectively. Thresholds were slightly higher in the second of two flight bioassays, suggesting an effect of beetle age. Strong positive relationships were found between temperature (6–20 °C) and the rates of feeding and oviposition on flower buds of oilseed rape.


These temperature relationships could be used to improve M. aeneus migration risk assessment, refine weather-based decision support systems and modulate damage thresholds according to rates of bud damage. © 2014 Society of Chemical Industry