Following applications of insecticides to agricultural fields to control pest insects, sometimes the crops suffer MORE insect damage than if no pesticides were applied. Knowing what you know about interactions between species and the factors that regulate population sizes, what is the most likely explanation for this?

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    The insecticides probably weakened the defenses of the plants, making them more vulnerable to attack by the surviving plant-eating insects.
    The insecticides probably killed off most of the competitors that previously kept the size of the plant-eating insect population from exploding. The insects then increased in number and did more damage to the plants.
    The insecticides probably killed off most of the predators that previously kept the size of the plant-eating insect population from exploding. The insects then increased in number and did more damage to the plants.
    The insecticides probably inhibited the growth of mycorrhizae and nitrogen-fixing bacteria on which the plants rely for nutrients. The plants were therefore weakened and more prone to attack by insects.

asked May 30, 2013 in Biology by anonymous
    

1 Answer

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The insecticides probably killed off most of the predators that previously kept the size of the plant-eating insect population from exploding. The insects then increased in number and did more damage to the plants.
answered May 31, 2013 by Bioshare ~Top Expert~ (34,070 points)

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