Manson Publishing

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The Titles


A Colour Atlas of Fruit Pests, Their Recognition, Biology and Control, by David V. Alford
A Colour Atlas of Pests of Ornamental Trees, Shrubs and Flowers, by David V. Alford

The Reviews

A Colour Atlas of Fruit Pests, Their Recognition, Biology and Control

by David V. Alford

ISBN = 1 72340 816 5
Price = £39.50
Originally published by Wolfe Publishing
Distributed by Oxford University Press in the UK
Distributed by McGraw Hill in Australia and New Zealand
Published = 1984
Review written = 25th/Sept/1998
320 pages
700+ colour photos

Like its companion volume A Colour Atlas of Pests of Ornamental Trees, Shrubs and Flowers by the same author this book represents an excellent way to learn about many of the insects commonly found in a British garden. There are far more species included in this work than can really be described as serious pests, particularly this applies to the Lepidoptera many of whom are polyphagous.

The author takes you from a general introduction to insects and other invertebrates through a series of introductions to all the pest taxa and all the major pest themselves finishing up with information on their control. Each chapter deals with one major taxonomic group, except Chapter 2 where the earwig Forficula auricularia, as the only representative of its order is included with the thrips. Each species is illustrated often both as an adult and a larvae and mostly in colour. Most of the 700+ illustrations are colour photographs, the rest are B/W drawings highlighting those characteristics relevent to identification. Though in general the photos are good some of those of the smaller moths are not as sharp as they could be. The text is normally excellent, and though in some places the scientific names are out of date this will not be a major problem to most users.

My only real concern with this work is the failure to indicate species numbers in the various orders and families and to give some indication of similar non-pest species. Thus a user could mistakenly identify a species as a pest when it was really only a similar but harmless visitor to the garden. this is particularly relevent to the weevils and some of the moths. For instance I doubt that any non-lepidopterist would distinguish satisfactorily between Feathered Thorn and some of the other Thorns or even Scalloped Oak if they were not aware that these species existed. This is not a particularly serious problem and could easily be surmounted with a few word of additional text. This work is not solely concerned with insects but looks also at mites, nematodes (though these are nearly impossible to identify except by the damage they cause), a millipede and slugs and snails. The last two chapters deal with control mechanisms, the 1st with biological ones and the 2nd with chemical ones. There is much in this book for the gardener who wants to know a little more about the local fauna, there is less for the amateur with some knowledge already who might be a little sceptical of headings like Beetles and weevils, for those not in the know weevils are a subset of beetles making this heading a rather poor indicator of taxonomic status.

Contains the following sections:- Introduction (a little arthropod biology to get you started); Earwigs and thrips; Aphids, bugs hoppers psyllids and scale insects; Beetles and weevils; Flies; Moths; Sawflies, ants and wasps; Mites; Miscellaneous pests; Parasites and predators; Pesticides; List of plants; Bibliography; General index and Scientific index.
Recommended

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A Colour Atlas of Pests of Ornamental Trees, Shrubs and Flowers

by David V. Alford

ISBN = 1 874 545 34 0
Price = £39.50 (Pbk)
Distributed by Oxford University Press in the UK
Distributed by McGraw Hill in Australia and New Zealand
Published = 1998
Review written = 6th/April/1998
448 pages
1000+ colour photos

This book is a photo-guide with accompanying text, it is well produced, has an extensive coverage of species and will be the sort of book many gardeners will enjoy using. It is UK orientated which means only people in the UK and Northern Europe will reap its full value. However many of the species are international pests and I expect libraries and colleges in most of the english speaking world will want a copy.
One thing this book is not is a guide to forestry pests, but does deal with those tree pests that are likely to be found in a suburban garden. Many species are included on very little quilt but this is fine as it serves to increase the coverage that insects receive in peoples minds and the degree of likelihood of there being a pest is explained. As you know I am in favour of anything that increases peoples awareness of insects. A good example of a border-line species is Eristalis tenax, the Drone Fly, many of the flies identified from Alford's description will be E. pertinax but this is not really a problem either. Though if you really want to ID E. tenax in the field do it on a basis of size, fore tarsi colour and width of facial stripe. When dealing with lepidoptera and coleoptera this book is on safer ground and the colour plates are more useful for species identification. But with the Sawflies and other Hymenoptera we again run into the problem of many similar looking species. I was however a little worried to see the Mole Cricket Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa, included as a pest, it may have been once but it is now so rare that it is considered endangered, being one of the few insects on the short list of the UK Steering Group Report to the government of species in need of immediate conservation action. Killing it would be a real bad move.

To my mind this book deals satisfactorily with the common pest species, when you realise that there are 22500 species of insects in the UK of which 6000+ are parasites on plants it becomes obvious that any single work will have trouble doing more than skim the surface. For the gardener looking to ID something that he has found on one of his plants this book with its laval photos and uncomplicated text will be of great use. Anyone looking for more than this will be needing proper taxonomic keys, personally I would have liked to have seen information on where to go for for more info on particular groups supplied in the text rather than just in the selected bibliography but I suspect that the number of readers that miss this will be few.

Contains the following sections:- Introduction (a little arthropod biology to get you started); Collembola; Orthoptera; Dermaptera; Dictyoptera; Hemiptera; Thysanoptera; Coleoptera; Diptera; Lepidoptera; Trichoptera; Hymenoptera; Mites; Woodlice; Millipedes; Symphylids; Nematodes; Slugs and Snails; Earthworms; Birds and Mammals. Also includes:- An Index of Host Plants; Selected Bibliography and General Index.
Highly Recommended

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