NATION

Those Who Study Insects Needed In Agri Sector

There are only two entomologists in the country. The Fiji National University is urging high school students especially to take up this programme to help control some agricultural issues here.
22 Jul 2016 12:39
Those Who Study Insects Needed In Agri Sector
Fiji National University final year agriculture student, Apete Lua demonstrating to students how a hydroponics model of a water planting irrigation system works at the FNU Koronivia Campus yesterday. Photo: Shahani Mala
There are only two entomologists in the country. The Fiji National University is urging high school students especially to take up this programme to help control some agricultural issues here.

An etymologist is a person who studies insects, including their relationships with other animals, their environment and human beings.

Therefore, having the expertise will augur well for our agricultural sector as it tries to deal with plant and fruit diseases which impacts commercial and subsistence farming.

 

Department

FNU’s College of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Department of Entomologist and Plant Pathology offers this programme.

Third year Bachelors of Science and Agriculture student, Shekal Lata said: “There are only two entomologists in Fiji and we are trying to encourage students to take up entomology courses.

“Insects can damage our fruits and we need more people in the field to control these pests and insects.

“We hope that more students will take up the course from next year.”

Currently, there are nine students doing the three-year course.

In order to take this course, a student has to take up Agriculture Science in high school. But if they have not done so,  they will be given a few units at FNU before they can take up the course.

 

What happens when a fruit fly infests a fruit?

The adult female lays its egg by making a puncture on the fruit using a needle like a structure at the end of the abdomen, called the ovipositor and at the same time introducing bacteria into the fruit.

In about two days, the egg hatches and the larvae remain in the fruit during the larvae stage. The bacteria break down the fruit, providing food for the larvae or maggots that hatch from the eggs.

Fruit damage caused by the fruit fly larvae becomes obvious after 3 days. The fruit tissue breaks down and black spot merges on the fruit surface.

In five to seven days symptoms of fruit fly damage is obvious through the rotting of the fruit.

The rotten fruits fall to the ground, the larvae exits the fruit and pupate in the soil, emerging as adult flies. The entire life cycle of the fruit fly takes 18 to 20 days.

 

Feedback:  shahani.mala@fijisun.com.fj

 



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