Q: How did you become interested in entomology?
A: My interest in entomology started during the practicum year of my undergraduate studies in Crop Production and Protection. At the research farm of Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria). On the research farm, crops such as watermelon, yam, cassava, corn, plantain, cocoa, carrot, and lettuce were planted. I worked in several agricultural units, including the bee research facility and the crop production unit. Several tons of harvest crops were lost, mostly from pest infestation.
Having witnessed both bees and the pests’ roles, I became passionate about tapping into beneficial insects’ useful functions and looking for solutions to insects’ negative consequences on crops. I specialized in Entomology in my senior year. Thus, my capstone project focused on minimizing flea beetles’ infestation on okra (a staple crop) using cultural control methods. I developed a new intercropping okra technique with kenaf (a tropical fiber crop) to minimize flea beetle infestation. This strategy builds on subsistence farmers’ intercropping practice to address the non-pesticide management of flea beetles. Intercropping helps reduce their cultivation costs to the minimum and avoid excessive dependency on synthetic agrochemicals.