Plants Have Natural Defense Systems

Plant illustration

Plant illustration. Source: iStock.

Plants use a variety of natural defense mechanisms to counter attacks by pests. Not only can healthy plants out-compete a pest by growing rapidly, but they also produce chemicals to slow insect feeding or inhibit bacterial or fungal infection. Some plants emit chemical “help” signals that call natural enemies—such as beneficial insects—to their aid. Farmers can manage crops to maximize plant defenses.

The Northeastern IPM Center is part of a five-year, multi-state research and extension project that began in 2015 to harness chemical ecology and to address pest and pollinator priorities. Through this project, researchers are seeking alternative, non-pesticidal strategies that unite several disciplines and lead to sustainable solutions.

These efforts aim to reduce the impacts of insect pests, protect valuable pollinators, support organic agriculture, and develop holistic, ecology-based systems.

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The Northeastern IPM Center promotes integrated pest management for reducing risks to human health and the environment. If republishing our news, please acknowledge the source (“From Northeast IPM Insights”) along with a link to our website.