Bugs only bug unhealthy plants? (fwd)

dennis_goos... at mindlink.net dennis_goos... at mindlink.net
Sat Aug 9 17:55:00 EST 1997

"Josh Thorpe" <jsthorpe at goldrush.com> wrote:

>Ronald Zwaagstra wrote in article ...
>>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>>Date: 4 Aug 1997 15:19:00 GMT
>>From: "Dennis R. Moore" <drmoore at mail.nospam.gte.net>
>>Subject: Bugs only bug unhealthy plants?
>>It is a long held common garden wisdom that insects and diseases are
>>problematic only on unthrifty or otherwise stressed plants. My own
>>experience validates this supposition to some degree but, lately I've
>>been wondering if there is any solid research supporting this thesis.
>>Can anyone point me in the right direction? Thanks!
>>Remove "nospam" from address if you wish to reply via e-mail
>Solid research for this particular subject is not popular with the
>traditional chemical agriculturists. 

I'm pretty traditionalist . One tradition is to use technology to increase
efficiency. Any research that improves agriculture is popular in this tradition.
Just tell me why, when, how, etc.

>However, some infrared work is coming
>to the surface with the increased use of GPS technology. Our limitations are
>obvious, no funding.

Is GPS for Global Positioning Satellite ?
How is infrared used with GPS?

>Your question caught my eye because we have been working very closely with
>plant health and how it relates to insect attack and biological health. So
>far what were are seeing is far less insect damage and much better soil
>pathogen tolerance based on soil health. I could talk for hours on soil
>An older father of this type of agricultural forward-thinking explained your
>question to me this way. " Insects seem to have infrared capabilities in
>sight. Meaning they tend to attack and recycle those particular areas of
>fields that are under stress because one or all of the input resource
>variables are out of balance in the soil. The imbalance manifests itself in
>the energy that is given off by the plant.

What energy is 'given off' by plants ?  Do you mean infrared radiation ? Do you
mean infrared reflected or generated by the plant ? Can insects determine the
health of a plant by direct observation of infrared energy associated with a
plant ?  

>When the insect is out looking
>for something to recycle, it tends to recycle those plants which represent
>the weaker of the total".

A curious choice of words; ".. the insect is out looking for something to
recycle ...".  Is this simply a humorous anthropomorphism, a figure of speech,
or a serious view ?

Have you a theory for why insects would  be attracted to the least healthy,
least nutritious plant material ? 

Our species and all animal species I have observed seem to select the
healthiest, most nutritious plant material for food if that is what you mean by
"recycling".  In my greenhouse, the bugs seem to go for the youngest, most
tender tips available. Active healthy growth seems  to pull them from miles

Could I draw the bugs away from my cash crop by deliberately maintaining an
unhealthy group of plants to draw the bugs away ?

>  Understand that this holds true in many
>situations. Science has yet to position itself to thinking this way.
>If you have more interest, please communicate the same.
>Infrared scanning technology is your best source for validation!!
I'm always anxious to here of better ways to grow things. 
How do I use infrared scanning technology and what can I validate with it ?


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