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Chinese researchers find Bt cotton controls pests while also promoting good bugs

Date: 21.6.2012 

Now, researchers in China are reporting that not only does planting Bt cotton reduce losses from pests, it also allows other beneficial insect populations to increase not just in the cotton fields, but in those nearby growing other crops as well. The team has published its findings in the journal Nature.

In their paper, the researchers report that cotton growers in China raising Bt cotton experience lower levels of bollworms than when using non genetically modified cotton and that they were able to reduce the amount of insecticide needed to control the pests as well. But perhaps more interestingly, they found that when conducting surveys in the Bt cotton fields, that many more lady bugs, spiders and other insects that feed on pests such as aphids were found, and better yet, were also more abundant in adjacent fields as well. Thus by growing Bt cotton, farmers are getting more from their fields while at the same time promoting the growth of "good" bugs that feed on other bad ones.



More information: Widespread adoption of Bt cotton and insecticide decrease promotes biocontrol services, Nature (2012) doi:10.1038/nature11153





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