The Spheres bugs

Inside the The Spheres, Amazon’s wonderland of biodiversity in Seattle, there are more than just plants living and thriving. You’ll also find a fair share of critters—of the insect variety. In this video, Carissa will tell you about slugs, mealybugs, and other harmful pests that find their way into The Spheres. Carissa is a horticulturist, which means she’s an expert on keeping plants healthy and strong. Part of her job is kicking out these harmful insects.

Carissa reminds us that bugs are not bad—they’re an important part of the natural world where we live. So how do you find the critters that aren’t allowed in The Spheres and tell them to bug off? You could spray chemicals to kill them all, but that can be bad for plants, people, and beneficial insects.

Instead, Carissa uses a bunch of different strategies that work together to keep The Spheres in balance. This is called Integrated Pest Management. One of the ideas is to bring ladybugs inside and release them, because they’ll eat mealybugs before the mealybugs can chow down on the plants. Another technique involves using pheromones, which are chemicals that insects and other animals give off as a signal to others. The right kind of pheromone can fool male mealybugs into thinking that there are a bunch of female mealybugs inside a box that’s really just a trap (pretty clever, don’t you think?). These and other tools help the team at The Spheres keep both plants and people happy!

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