Arthy Surendran



Project Lead: Arthy Surendran
Moving to peat-free growing media is essential to allow peat bogs to recover from past exploitation. Peat has been a mainstay of horticulture for many decades and the move away from it will lead to other plant-based products being incorporated into growing media in the future. This may provide the conditions for the proliferation of pests such as sciarid flies, which often occur in decaying plant matter. There are approximately 600 species of sciarid fly in Europe and a total of c.1700 described species globally but the lifecycles of most of these species are currently unknown. In addition, there is conflicting evidence on whether sciarid fly cause physical damage to plants or whether they are just a nuisance. Understanding the extent of damage is very important. By conducting interviews with key stakeholders in the horticulture industry, this project will provide a better understanding of:

1. The specific conditions and contexts where sciarid flies could be a problem in Scotland;
2. Whether sciarid fly infestations are more prevalent in peat-free growing media;
3. The species present and their lifecycles;
4. Management options for sciarid fly.