Jason Mauck

Thomas Dykstra
Entomologist, Gainesville, Fla.

Using Insects as Indicators for Plant Health

Thomas Dykstra took a risk leaving academia and starting a private laboratory, but it placed him on a career path as an independent research consultant that led to the breaking of the insect olfactory code and determining which insects are attracted to which plants and why. From aphids to grasshoppers, insects are deemed important indicators of plant health and may be used to that end if one knows how to interpret their presence. The Gainesville, Fla.-based entomologist will explain how relative plant health can be linked to specific insect damage, rather than grouping all insects together as mere competitors for our food. Dykstra will relate all of this to leaf brix levels and help attendees elevate their knowledge base to allow them to successfully navigate between various types of crop and soil amendments used in a no-till operation.