Welcome Richard Higgins, our latest BSc researcher in Tropical Biodiversity

Richard getting to know the plants in the glasshouse

Richard getting to know the plants in the glasshouse

A new round of BSc research projects have just started for 2014/15 academic year.  Richard Higgins will be working with Paul Hatcher and Alastair Culham on the monitoring and management of Mealy bug in the tropical glasshouse. 

Close-up shot of young mealy bug - about 1 mm long

Close-up shot of young mealy bug – about 1 mm long

Richard will be conducting an initial survey of which plants this bug infests and then monitoring the pest and its predator, Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, to discover how the two interact, how long it takes for each to complete its life cycle and to explore the dynamics of this predator/prey relationship.  We are committed to IPM in our glasshouse and have stable interactions between predators and prey for aphids and red spider mite so far.  Mealy bug is a common problem pest and notoriously difficult to manage.  Luckily it spreads only slowly in glasshouse conditions.  We used Cryptolaemus last year with success but did not gather any quantitative data.

Avocado seems to be one of the plants that attracts mealy bug.

Avocado seems to be one of the plants that attracts mealy bug.

About Alastair Culham

A professional botanist and biologist with an interest in promoting biological knowledge and awareness to all.
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