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Rearing predators to control cotton pests

Cotton pests have been the cause of decreasing cotton yields in the country. Despite several attempts to controls these insects, their numbers remain unaffected. Rhynocoris fuscipes is a species of insect belonging to the family Reduviidae, which are known to be the natural predators of many cotton pests. Now, scientists from St. Xavier’s College, University of Florida and US Horticultural Research laboratory have proposed rearing Rhynocoris fuscipes in microenvironmental cages and then using them as predators to control cotton pests. Their study showed that, when reared, these predators are far more effective at biocontrol of the cotton pests, than when they are allowed to do so naturally. They also showed that the technique of biocontrol does not affect any of the other insects in the cotton agroecosystem, thus making it a very effective tool in our fight against these pests.