by Emma Dauster
BHS juniors Bain Brown and Hannah Lenze and sophomore Carly Tabor completed their research for the TIME program on entomopathogenic fungi and kudzu bugs. Their project received the Honorable Mention award in the Biological Science A category of the 2018 Western Region Science and Engineering Fair. The competition took place at Western Carolina University on February 8.
Titled, “The Isolation and Identification of Entomopathogenic Fungi from Megacopta cribraria in Transylvania County”, the project focused on identifying a fungus found on kudzu bugs (Megacopta cribraria) and the potential applications of this to fight populations of kudzu bugs as pests in agricultural settings.
“I first became interested in this topic because I went to the kudzu patch behind the high school and saw some mysterious white fungi growing on some of the kudzu bugs,” said Tabor. “I worked with kudzu bugs last year but had never seen anything like this so I was very interested.”
Research studies on kudzu bugs are becoming increasingly important to the ever-growing area of agriculture because of the bugs’ fascinatingly quick rate of reproduction.
“It is really important to farmers that their crops are well, and kudzu bugs are known to feed on crops such as soybeans,” said Tabor. “Our research could contribute to this because we were trying to figure out if the fungi would kill the bugs, therefore helping the farmers.”
The TIME program at BHS allows students to conduct real scientific research on their own time during a class period. This is an incredible opportunity for any student who wishes to make a difference in their community, state, or even country.
“I would recommend TIME to other students because it teaches you how to solve real-world problems and basic skills you need for the future,” said Tabor.
For more information about the BHS’s TIME program and how to be a part of it, visit time4realscience.org.