Researchers May Have Found A Way To Monitor And Trap An Sneaky Insect Pest

Researchers May Have Found A Way To Monitor And Trap An Sneaky Insect Pest

Imagine how damaging insect pests used to be back when science had not furnished mankind with pest control methods. Thankfully, in these modern times, insects can be trapped, killed and even monitored in order to keep crops insect-free. The world is full of insect pests that would surely keep fresh produce from ever reaching our local grocery stores if it were not for the decades of agricultural research that has led to a greater understanding of insect pest behavior.

It is important to know which insects are pests, and what types of vegetation these insect pests prefer, and are able to access. This is why monitoring insect pests is crucial for determining which plants are at the most risk of incurring damage. Insect pests must also be successfully trapped in order to reduce insect pest populations. Traps also allow researchers to gather large amounts of particular insect pests so that they can be properly studied. For example, by trapping insect pests, researchers can apply various insecticides in order to determine which mixtures are the most effective at killing particular insect pests.

Although there are not too many insect pests that can avoid traps and monitoring programs, there are a few that can. The harlequin bug is one wily insect pest that has managed to dodge all traps and monitoring programs. Luckily, researchers from the University of Georgia may have found a clever way to trap and monitor these invasive insects.

Researchers created many traps that all contained one distinct color (green, black, white, red, yellow, or purple). The researchers then let harlequin bugs loose in the laboratory in order to observe which colored traps the bugs approached. Next, the same situation was created in an open outdoor field, and the results were similar.

In both cases the male harlequin bugs were attracted to the color green. The females were also attracted to green, but red as well. The preference for the green color could be due to the harlequin bug’s attraction to Brassica host plants, which are green in color when their nutrient levels are high. The reason behind the female preference for red is still up for debate. This experiment may be the first step in the development of the first effective trapping system designed for harlequin bug.

Do you know of any other insect pests that evade trapping and monitoring efforts? If you do, then which types of insects?

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