After the Second World War much entomological research was undertaken from the concept that most pest problems caused by insects could be solved by application of insecticides.
Chemical control was considered cheap, effective and safe. It is now realized that this approach was non-sustainable. Already in the early days of chemical control the Laboratory of Entomology choose a different approach for its research, with emphasis on alternative methods of control. Initially the research focused on insect physiology i.e. hormonal regulation of insect development and resulted in the discovery of insect growth regulators as modern and selective control agents. Subsequently much work was done (and continues to be done) on the physiology of insect/plant interactions and the ecology of parasite/host and predator/prey interactions. In the last decade research on arthropod vectors of human and animal diseases complemented the research at the Laboratory.
The Laboratory of Entomology conducts fundamental and applied research. Fundamental scientific research concerns 5 topics:
- Host plant selection by herbivorous insects and mites;
- Chemical communication between plants and carnivorous insects and mites;
- Foraging behaviour of predators and parasitoids;
- Population dynamics of parasitoids
- Evolutionary ecology of asexual reproduction in insects.
Applied research is narrowly associated with the fundamental research, and includes the following topics:
- Development of biological and integrated pest management in greenhouses, orchards and field crops;
- Mechanisms of host-plant resistance;
- Biological and integrated control of pests and vectors in the tropics