Anjali Jha, Chaudhari Monark, Laksh Agrawal, Ranjit V S
Usually, the word ‘insect’ makes us think of a little flying animal that can sting or bite us, or
even ruin our homes. However, despite the general negative view towards insects, they
actually play a very important role in our lives.
Certain insects make soil ready for farming. In fact, 85% of soil fauna is made of arthropods!
Burrowing arthropods like termites and ants increase soil aeration, soil porosity and
generally improve the structure of the soil.
If all insects died humans would run out of food in 4 years. This is because a huge proportion
of our food is pollinated by arthropods – one out of every three bites of food we eat!
Indirectly, arthropods have a greater role in the food chain where insects are the main
pollinators of flowering plants. Insects like the honey bee, butterflies and some flies and
beetles pollinate flowers as they go about looking for nectar and pollen to feed on.
Arthropods are the insects of major interest in agriculture as they can either be good or
harmful to our crops or animals. The harmful ones are mostly pests and parasites that destroy
agricultural produce or spread diseases causing farmers serious problems on their farms.
The destructive group of arthropods are just a fraction of the total population but they have
very serious economic effects. They include insects like moths, butterflies, grasshoppers,
beetles and weevils to name just a few.
Many of them are not destructive in the adult form but in their larval stage. Insects like
butterflies and moths are often seen as nice insects, but during their larval stage caterpillars
are very destructive. Many caterpillars feed on the foliage of growing plants. Most of the
crops they eat can be seen on farms, such as maize or cabbage.
Here the team is focusing on the pests in farm as they have adverse effect on the yield and
working to search and create a better alternative for the pesticides.
Pesticide is a chemical or biological agent (such as a virus, bacterium, or fungus) that deters,
incapacitates, kills, or otherwise discourages pests. Target pests can include insects,
plant pathogens, weeds, molluscs, birds, mammals, fish, nematodes (roundworms),
and microbes that destroy property, cause nuisance, or spread disease, or are disease vectors.
Although pesticides have benefits, some also have drawbacks, such as potential toxicity to
humans and other species.