Insects, in search of the hosts?

Gree-beetle gatheringby Santosh Rajus – Working on the Coffee White Stem Borer, observing them in the field in their modified ecosystem, and my recent observation of a huge gathering of beetles feeding on the secretion from tree barks ,makes me wonder, what happens to the insects when we modify their ecosystem? How do they find their host? How far do they go in search of their host?

Coffee PlantationsWe all know that insects play a very important role in our ecosystem. Insects are really good at playing their part and I think modifying their ecosystem just puts them in a puzzle. A few insects may be able to solve this puzzle, thus making them survive in large numbers and eventually making them a PEST. Citing this example of the Coffee white stem borer; how their natural hosts were removed, leading them to choose the Coffee plant, how they adapted to using this plant as a host and eventually becoming a pest in the coffee plantations; leads me to several questions – What made these borers choose the coffee plant? Did the beetle get attracted to coffee because it had features similar to its previous host or is it simply just the lack of availability of other hosts? Hope I get my questions answered soon.

All questions aside, understanding the ecosystem is very important before we modify it, as it will give us an idea about host plants and its natural enemies. Insects are not pests; we create an environment where they become one. Let’s think before we act!

Forest land converted into teak plantation

 

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