The focus of the Europe Australasian Thrips Semiochemical (EATS) Network is to develop semiochemical-based tools for management of thrips of economic and quarantine importance. The objectives of this programme are (1) to strengthen existing and develop new research partnerships through staff exchanges and networking between 4 organisations from the Netherlands, Spain, Austria and United Kingdom, and 2 organisations from Australia and New Zealand, and (2) to address key scientific issues to develop novel practical tools for border protection and sustainable pest management for important thrips species. Thrips are tiny insects that cause direct damage and transmit viruses to agricultural and horticultural crops in Europe and readily develop resistance to pesticides. They require significant inputs of agrichemicals, creating risks to workers, consumers and the environment, and are of significant quarantine concern. IRSES provides a unique opportunity to strengthen past collaborations and integrate new world- leading research teams with complementary expertise into a coherent international programme that collectively will provide effective synergies. A range of semiochemical-based technologies (e.g. pheromones, kairomones and allomones) have been successfully developed by researchers around the world for the sustainable management of many large insect pests. However, until now these technologies have been under-exploited for small insects such as thrips. The EATS Network will exploit existing knowledge of underpinning concepts in chemical ecology and insect behaviour while bringing new knowledge on the biology and pest management of small insects. This approach will allow rapid progress to be made towards practical tools for management of this devastating class of insect pests. Six ‘work packages’ on thrips semiochemicals have been identified by the EATS Network as critical for achieving our objective.
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