Farmers use insecticides to keep insects away from their crops. But insecticides can be expensive and toxic, posing a risk to the environment and human health.
An alternative is to use natural repellents made from plants. These repellents have a smell that insects don’t like, so the insects stay away from things with that smell.
Elizabeth Bandason, a doctoral researcher in the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University, is interested in figuring out what’s going on in the brains and nervous systems of insects when they smell a repellent. Her research has the potential to provide a safe and affordable way to protect plants while keeping the environment safe from toxic insecticides.
Listen to the podcast here.
Photo: Elizabeth Bandason