Kenneth Wilson of the Univ of Lancaster has recently written a blog post on the plagues of African and “Fall” armyworms (aka caterpillars, larvae of moth species in the genus Spodoptera) that are currently chewing their way through southern African maize and other crops. I wrote the following as a comment to his blog.
Nice article – which very ably demonstrates the perils of importing agricultural pests from elsewhere!
I am interested that you wrote:
“There are non-chemical, biological pesticides that could also be effective. These are pesticides derived from natural diseases of insects, such as viruses, fungi and bacteria.”
Some years back (OK, nearly 30) Barbara von Wechmar in the then Microbiology Dept was instrumental in our finding a number of insect viruses that were seriously lethal to aphids and green stinkbugs. These were inadvertent discoveries, which happened three times – twice with different viruses for aphids which…
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