In the course of a year billions of dollars are lost to crop damage caused by pests. As a results, the agriculture industry has taken drastic measures to reduce and control pest population. A facet of pest management includes biological control; the use of a living organism to control another species’ population. Agents of biological control include predators, parasites, as well as diseases. This method of pest control is important to the agriculture industry and provides an environmentally conscious way of dealing with pests rather than resorting to insecticides.
In this experiment, the effectiveness of biological control is tested using lady beetles and aphids. Lady beetles are predaceous coleopterans that feed primarily on aphids (order hemiptera). Aphids feed on a plethora of plants including peach, plum, and apricot. Aphids are also vectors of plant disease. Eight replicates were conducted. In each replicate a lady beetle is places in a petri dish with aphids; 3 lady beetles are placed in a dish with aphids; and insecticide was used against the aphids.
Materials & Methods
In order to conduct the experiment a total of twenty four petri dishes were used. Three petri dishes were used for each replicate. Five aphids were placed in each petri dish. The first petri dish of a given replicate contained one lady beetle; the second petri dish contained three lady beetles; and the third contained a solution of soapy water that functioned as an insecticide. In each petri dish, a pepper leaf was placed to stimulate living conditions for the aphids. After observing each petri dish for ten minutes, the results were recorded and the number of aphids killed during this period were noted. The experiment was replicated seven more times giving a total of eight replicates.
The experiment was conducted to determine the effectiveness of biological control versus pesticides. It was also conducted to determine which is more...