Good afternoon web-browsers. As this is my first post I feel it necessary to introduce myself. My name is Samuel Hickling and I shall be working for Dr.Culham on the final year project of a Zoology BSc. My given task is to monitor the level of species deemed pests within the display. Every 7-10 days I’ll be in the glasshouse meticulously taking samples, in order to identify the pests and track the extent of infestation.

Once the situation has been properly assessed we may start to take action upon these naughty beasties. But how? You may ask. Well, I aim to provide an integrated solution that moves away from the ubiquitous pesticide spraying that has become so common place in agriculture and horticulture today.

After my initial inspection of the glasshouse it is safe to say that we do have PESTS! I have observed at least two species of aphid, a population of whitefly and a number of thrip individuals so far. Have no fear though my friends, like any sophisticated predator I shall lie in wait gathering information upon my enemy. Similarly to the way a panther may stalk it’s prey in the night I will bide my time… picking the perfect moment to strike with full force!!

Sam with Paul Hatcher learning about plant pests

Sam with Paul Hatcher learning about plant pests

The good news is that not only have I noted the presence of species harmful to our plants, but also their natural enemies too. Spider webs adorn many of the plants and I believe there to be two species of parasitoid wasp inhabiting the rear of the display. This is an excellent sign. It means that the display provides a suitable environment to sustain populations of organisms that will prey upon our pests. In terms of a management scheme these organisms are known as biocontrol agents and will most likely play a heavy role in the plan that I will devise.

Feel free to ask any questions and I shall try my hardest to give an informative answer. Also, I will continue to post any updates on the current pest situation. Happy surfing to all.


ps. I hope you all enjoy this spider that I found on the Okra as much as I do. 🙂


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