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Protective scent


Sugar cane makes life sweeter for its natural surroundings.

Beetles, likewise, make plants happy and offer protection against parasites and pesticides. Ladybirds, too, have an increasingly important role to play in agriculture.

Enter a female US researcher investigating why aphids avoid the polka-dotted insects like the plague. Turns out it’s the unique smell ladybirds emit.

This is produced by naturally occurring liquids secreted when they come under threat. If the scent’s components can be commercially produced, a new organic pesticide is a genuine possibility.

Since there are some 6,000 species of ladybird, however, the optimal blend is yet to be found.

Where pesticides are concerned, alternatives include waste from the aloe vera plant or a specially constructed labyrinth

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