Student wants ladybirds to turn China organic

ladybirds organic farming
Photo: Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

While Danish people send ladybirds to heaven so they can ask God for good weather, a Chinese PhD student at University of Copenhagen is now asking them to eat all the greenflies. It is supposed to advance organic production in China, Globalnyt writes.

“I specialise in biological control. Simply put, it is the act of using another organism to control a pest. Ladybirds, for instance, can eat lots of greenflies, so we can use the ladybirds to control the greenflies,” the student, Xueqing He, who is a graduate of China Agricultural University in Beijing, told Globalnyt.

China is the world’s largest producer of farmed goods but currently, the majority of the large country’s farming is based on conventional methods.

The Chinese Government has expressed a desire to turn this around and direct its attention towards organic farming.

And this is why Xueqing He is now hoping to crack the code on how China can turn down its use of pesticides, and turn up its intake of organic food.

Serving the right dish

Xueqing He’s job is to figure out how she can keep the ladybirds from flying away, when they have eaten all the greenflies. The plan is to stop the pest from even considering setting foot on the crops and having a taste.

“The idea is to plant flowers next to the crops where the ladybirds can find food instead of leaving the area,” said Xueqing He, who’s found buckwheat and dill to be the most successful appetisers so far.

The project is funded by University of Copenhagen, and China Scholarship Council sponsors the Chinese student’s stay in Denmark. She is planning to finish her PhD next year in 2020.

A change of mind

The main enemy of organic farming in China is tradition. An obstacle therefore lies ahead in changing the minds of Chinese farmers.

“After World War II we produced as much as possible so people wouldn’t starve. To this day we still use a lot of pesticides. Of course we’re aware of the damage the pesticides inflict but we have focused on the benefits of them,” Xueqing He said.

She is however hopeful as the interest of both the Chinese people and authorities are showing an increasing interest in organic produce.

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