Plants Know How To Repel Insect Predators

March 17, 2017 | Posted In: General

For many people, the only downside about visiting a beach during the summer is the sand. Sand is a “love it” or “hate it” sort of thing. The grainy sensation that sand produces as we are feeling it is unpleasant to most people…and insects. New research is suggesting that plants produce a sand-like substance that deters bugs from eating them.

Plants, such as everyday grass, produce large amounts of silicone. In fact, grass produces ten percent of its total weight in just silicone. Plants then use this silicone as a way of making grass more bridle and abrasive. Anybody who has ever felt a blade of grass can tell you that it feels somewhat like sandpaper.

In an effort to put an end to insect-pests destroying prairie land, a team of entomologists have banned together in order to induce a certain type of pasture grass into producing large amounts of silicone, which this type of grass normally does not. Since insects are naturally repelled from the grainy silicone in plants, researchers are attempting to deter insect-pest destruction to prairieland by making the prairie-grass produce silicon.

A recent experiment has showed how insects behave towards grass treated with silicone, and the behavior towards normal grass. The researchers were not surprised to find that the rats eating the silicone treated grass were not eating nearly as much as the second group, and consequently, the rats became much skinnier.

The study also showed how disinterested a mantis was towards crickets that did consume a lot of silicone. The mantises were less interested in the bugs that ate only the silicone treated grass. This shows how silicone may be a more important food ingredient to avoid than initially thought. In any case, we know that insects hate it. The experiments were a success, and the achievements made by the researchers will greatly help with creating an anti-insect type of grass.

Do you think there could be any negative environmental consequences as a result of producing silicone treated grass?