Keele University support Russell IPM with insecticide-free pest control

Russell IPM

A product developed as part of a Keele University partnership has won an international innovation award for its insecticide-free solution to pest control.

The award was given to a range of sticky roller traps manufactured by Russell IPM, which use an aggregation pheromone discovered at Keele University to attract pests, providing effective and insecticide-free pest control.

Keele University academics Professor Gordon Hamilton and Dr William Kirk first discovered and identified the aggregation pheromone that can be used to attract pests in 2001.  From 2014-2016, Keele University collaborated with Russell IPM as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to develop several new products for trapping insects, reducing damage in strawberry crops and the need for insecticides.

The Innovation Award was presented in Germany in November 2016 at the European Asparagus and Strawberry Fair (expoSE) and Agricultural Direct Sales Expo (expoDirekt), an international annual event attended by over 6,000 visitors.

Dr Kirk, who also supervised the KTP project, said: “I am delighted that a product we have helped develop has received an innovation award from the horticultural industry.  It is a tribute to the work of my thrips research group at Keele University.  Our recent Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Russell IPM Ltd was instrumental in allowing our thrips research to be used to develop a product that will help crop production around the world.”

The KTP associate, Dr Clare Sampson, is now the Horticulture Development Manager at Russell IPM. Dr Sampson commented:  “Working with Russell IPM allowed immediate translation of good results into marketable products, while working with Keele University maintained access to specialist knowledge and facilities.  The project resulted in new traps that are very effective in the field, making a real contribution to pest control for farmers, without any harmful effects on the environment, and this is the most satisfying result for me.  Winning an innovation award is icing on the cake.”

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