Ecological Pest Management

Dr. Juli Carrillo’s lab ‘Plant-Insect Ecology & Evolution’ focuses on plant defence against herbivory. Currently, Carrillo’s lab has a new project at the UBC Farm involving intercropping, lead by Chelsea Gowton. The project involved Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) as an invasive fruit fly. SWD can have a huge economic impact on global small fruit production. Organic farmers, such as the UBC Farm, have few tools to help combat agricultural losses due to SWD. The lab’s goal is to evaluate ecological pest management strategies that utilize natural processes to help reduce the impact of SWD. Mint essential oil has shown to repel SWD within the laboratory. The lab is using mint as an intercrop between blueberries at the UBC Farm. The lab hypothesizes that the volatile organic compounds of the fresh mint will help mask SWD’s ability to locate the blueberries that are ripening in the field, thus resulting in fewer crop losses to SWD.

Source of Funding: BC Blueberry Council

Contact: Juli Carrillo

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