FameLab winner, Erinn Fagan-Jeffries, from the University of Adelaide describes how wasps can be used to save crops from attack by caterpillars in her winning presentation, which is now available as a podcast on ABC radio national.
Wasps make perfect agents for biological control. Parasitic wasps choose specific caterpillars to lay their eggs, then when the baby wasps hatch they proceed to eat the caterpillar from the inside out.
Erinn’s research using DNA analysis and the gut contents of Australian wasps to determine the wasps’ caterpillar of choice is now part of a citizen science project: The Caterpillar Conundrum.
Erinn will be representing Australia at the FameLab International competition as part of the Cheltenham Science Festival in June.
(Image: Erinn Fagan-Jeffries (British Council) abc.net.au)