Biosciences plant installation replaced after parasite infestation


The space designated for the living wall installation, which has been taken down due to an infestation of parasitic insects, in the Biosciences Building on July 18.

Plants in the Living Wall installation located in the Biosciences Building were replaced in July, after the display was temporarily taken down due to an infestation of parasitic insects. 

The installation was removed on Tuesday, July 18 due to complications caused by an infestation of mealybugs, a common parasite that drain a plant of its liquids. Mealybug infestations are identified by the wax-like residue that the insects leave behind.

Quinn Kirby | Staff Photographer | Central Michigan Life

Students pass through the Bioscience Building on Jan. 13.

The insects likely came with the plants when they were originally installed, said Michael O'Neill, the aquatic vivarium manager for the biology department. 

"We had treated (the infestation) before with some organic oils, but that didn't appear to get them all," O'Neill said. "We started to introduce Green Lacewing bugs, which are predators of (the mealybugs), but we eventually just decided to get all new plants."

The replacement was done with no cost to the university, as the installation is still under a warranty plan.