Honey bees die after stinging larger enemies; this and other interesting facts about insects led me to become a doctoral researcher in the field of insect biology. After obtaining a BSc (Hons) in Agriculture, I understood the role of insects in agriculture as I majored in crop science. I cultivated cowpea as part of my final year dissertation on 'The Use of Herbicides in Cowpea Production'.
I continued my studies with an MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development to gain a broader understanding of how agriculture fits into the natural environment and economic development. I also understood how the environment is a source of useful economic products such as biofuels and why environmental conservation promotes sustainable development. By investigating how sugarcane and biofuel production affect sugar prices, I developed an interest in business economics. I worked in the field of business development for several years and also explored the world of beekeeping.
I am currently mentoring students as I prepare for a career in higher education and research.
Research Project - The Biological Control of insect Pests Using Predators and Parasitoids'.
Pesticides are often used in agriculture to control harmful insect pests which adversely affect plant growth and development. The use of these chemicals is not only costly but also detrimental to ecosystems by harming useful insects such as honey bees. By employing biological control measures destructive insects are controlled by using a natural enemy of the insect.
My main focus is on the cowpea weevil, Callosobruchus maculatus, which is a pest of several legumes including cowpea. My work will not only investigate the biology of the insect as a storage pest but also the field conditions where the life cycle of the pest begins. Plant quality and the learning behaviour of parasitoids would be explored in different varieties of infested legumes. My project will demonstrate the importance of symbiotic relationships among insects in the field cultivation of cowpea. Even though a simple relationship exists between a pest and its parasitoid during the storage of cowpea, a much more sophisticated relationship exists on the farm when other insect visitors of cowpea visit the plant. There may be mutualism, competition for resources and even predation from multiple natural enemies and this will be explored in my study.
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