Don Silhacek, Mentor
Observing Galleria mellonella (wax moth) eggs under a microscope.
This summer Laura Parenteau worked on two projects. The first project involved experimenting with the diet of Plodia interpunctella. The second project involved development of a diet for Galleria mellonella that can be produced more efficiently, but which performs as well as the existing diet.
Weighing the Plodia larvae.
The Effects of Various Nutrients on the Larval Growth of Plodia interpunctella
The purpose of this study was to alter a cereal product so it would not support the growth of Plodia larvae but would keep its nutritional value for human consumption. This approach to controlling the moth substitutes for the conventional use of pesticides. An example of a cereal product that does not support larval growth is corn flakes. To determine why this product fails, experiments were performed to try to improve the product. These experiments helped to determine which nutrients are required by Plodia larvae for growth. Most tests involved supplementing the corn flakes with various nutrients. Several nutrients were found to support larval growth; their chemical components will be used in future experiments to help refine this approach to pest control.