Creepy-crawlies fighting other creepy-crawlies

Your parents probably tell you to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables because they are good for you.

Vegetables such as tomatoes and sweet peppers are often grown in greenhouses.  But in between all those beautiful tomatoes lurk lots of dangers! Bad creepy-crawlies have set their sights on the tasty, juicy leaves on the tomato plants. Caterpillars eat big holes in the leaves. Spider mites suck the juice out of the leaves, turning the leaves yellow. The tomatoes then cannot grow so well and the plant can even die. 


However, growers can do something about it.  Growers can release other creepy-crawlies to fight the bad ones. So it's a battle between good creepy-crawlies and bad creepy-crawlies. This means the grower doesn't have to use dangerous chemicals, which are also bad for the environment.

One example of a good creepy-crawly is one you have probably already seen: the ladybird. A ladybird eats bad creepy-crawlies like aphids. Another good creepy-crawly is the parasitic wasp. It might sound a bit scary, but this little insect is so small you can hardly see it. 

The parasitic wasp kills the aphid in a different way. The wasp has a kind of drill at the end of her body which she uses to make a hole in the aphid. She lays an egg inside, and the aphid dies. When the egg hatches, it doesn't contain a new aphid. Instead it contains a new parasitic wasp, which itself goes hunting for other bad creepy-crawlies.


You think you don't like tomatoes? Just think about all the food that tomatoes are used to make, like ketchup and pizza. So it's good to know that the tomatoes that have been used to make those foods were able to stay healthy while they grew. And, of course, they're delicious too!   

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