Scientists Prevent Whiteflies From Feeding By Confusing Them With A Variety Of Different Smells

October 21, 2016 | Posted In: General

There exists a phenomenon known as the “confusion effect,” which involves a human or an animal becoming confused or even disoriented when confronted with a plethora of different stimuli or information. The idea behind the confusion effect has been applied to whiteflies for pest control purposes, and it worked.

Biologists at Newcastle University have attempted to prevent the notorious whitefly from feeding on tomatoes, which seems to be their favorite type of food. While a group of whiteflies were collectively feeding on tomatoes inside of a greenhouse, the group of biologists pumped a variety of different aromas into the greenhouse in order to see if the whiteflies would experience a sort of sensory overload, or become disoriented and confused. Much to the satisfaction of the biologists, the whiteflies became so confused that they no longer made any efforts to feed on the tomatoes. Researchers believe that this sensory overload method of pest control could be used for short periods of time with great success.

Do you think that greenhouses could be made pest free by introducing a variety of different scents into the enclosed greenhouse in order to mentally distract pests from feeding on plant life?