The effect of spatial variation for predicting aphid outbreaks

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    In order to improve forecasting of pest epidemics, it is important to know the spatial scale at which specific forecasts are reliable. To investigate the spatial scale of aphid outbreaks, we have developed a spatio-temporal stochastic aphid population growth model and fitted the model to empirical spatial time series of aphid population data using a Bayesian hierarchical fitting procedure. Furthermore, detailed spatial data of the initial phases of population growth were investigated in semivariograms. Our results suggest that spatial variation is low in the initial occurrence probability at a spatial scale of 10 km. Consequently, the results support the hypothesis that initial aphid population sizes and outbreaks may be predicted in fields within a 10 km radius. For farmers, this may imply that they can rely their decision of whether to spray against aphids on observations made by other nearby farmers or by the consultancy service.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Applied Entomology
    Pages (from-to)263–269
    Number of pages7
    Publication statusPublished - May 2020


    • aphid population model
    • hierarchical models
    • spatial and temporal model


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