University of Ghana researches insect pests at ornamental nurseries

The project is to be conducted between the months of January and March 2022 at the University of Ghana botanical gardens, specifically at the ornamental nurseries. It aims to test the hypothesis that insect pests are associated with ornamental nurseries at the University of Ghana botanical gardens and to ask the questions 'which ornamental nurseries are associated with the ornamental nurseries, how can they be identified, and what effect do they have on the ornamental plants?'

Six ornamental plants, namely gardenia, purple heart spiderworts, tillandsia, oyster plants, and hibiscus were selected and kept under observation to identify the insect pests on them and their effects. Data collection was done twice in a week and the data was collected by examining five randomly selected plants of each of the ornamental plants selected. These collected specimens were brought in the laboratory and an identification on the species level was done. Of the plants collected, 7 insect pest have so far been identified.

Insect pest such as whiteflies, spider mites, thrips and aphids have been found to be associated with gardenia plants, while on purple heart spiderworts were predominant, though the plant proved to be tough and not under much attack from insect pests. However, caterpillars were found on them causing damage. Also, tillandsia proved to be actively associated with mealybug, whiles the oyster plants were also found associated with mealybugs and whiteflies. Lastly the hibiscus plant was found to be actively associated with mealy bugs, aphids, thrips, scale bug, and whiteflies.

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