Retrieving the past - 90 years of entomology enquiries received by RHS Gardening Advice

RHS project team
Dr Andrew Salisbury, RHS
Start date
08/01/2007 00:00:00

Long term data series, pest pests, pest distribution, changing distributions, wildlife records, garden animals, phenology

The problem

While enquiries received since 2004 have been recorded in a useable electronic format, there was only one paper copy of the data from 1918 to 2004, which could have easily been lost.


The log books of entomology enquiries were copied and records digitalised by the end of 2009. Management and validation of the data (e.g. addition of grid references) was completed in 2010. It is now possible to produce distribution maps, assess trends in distribution and abundance and extract pest-host plant information.

The dataset is updated annually with data extracted from the RHS database of advisory enquiries (the Advisory Management Tool).

Information on several pest species, including the yew scale, large wisteria scale, fuchsia gall mite and Pittosporum sucker has been shared with organisations such as the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) and the National Biodiversity Network (NBN). This has resulted in several scientific papers published or being prepared. See the plant pests publication list

The RHS is keen for this data to be used and would like to collaborate in research. Email [email protected] if you would like to use RHS data for research.

Benefits to gardeners

The Entomology section has a unique archive of enquiries received by the RHS relating to pests and garden wildlife dating back to 1918. The archive contains animal, host and location information from more than 110,000 enquiries. Digitalisation of the paper archive has made the information readily available improving the advice provided by the RHS and informing the horticultural and scientific community.

Further information

Surveys on the spread of non-native garden pests

Andrew Salisbury, RHS


Plant pest publications

Get involved

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