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.
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.