2. How do bugs affect food production?

How do bugs affect food production?

Todays learning: (WALT)


Year 5

  • explain the differences in the life cycles of a mammal, an amphibian, an insect and a bird
  • describe the life process of reproduction in some plants and animals
  • Understand how this knowledge can help us tackle and control bugs

Year 6

  • recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind, but normally offspring vary and are not identical to their parents

Design Technology

  • understand seasonality, and know where and how a variety of ingredients are grown, reared, caught and processed

Lesson Activities

  • Watch 'How do bugs affect food production?' video
  • Video is split into section for each bug
    • Pests, Crop Diseases, Animal Diseases, Weeds, Weather
  • This explains some of reasons why we must control bugs to produce food successfully


  • Do quiz for first section answers…

Video Dialogue

  • So now you should know something about what food you get from Oilseed Rape, Wheat, Dairy and Potatoes.
  • And  have seen some of the enemies or ‘bugs’ which attack them….
  • By 'bugs' by bugs we mean: pests, diseases, weeds and the weather
  • Let us have a more detailed look at these bugs and just what they do.
  • OSR & Pests

    • Well Oilseed Rape can be attacked by pests such as slugs and pigeons.
    • These both eat the leaves and as you should know leaves are important as this is where plants make their food
    • So if a plants leaves are damaged it cannot make as much food from sunlight (by photosynthesis )which means less oilseed rape for the farmer to harvest and so less food for us.
    • OSR can also be attached by Pollen Beetles - these as their name suggests eat pollen.
    • Why would this be bad for the oilseed rape plants and us?
    • Well pollen is part of a plants life cycle
    • During pollination the pollen is transferred to the female part of the plant (usually by insects like bees)
    • The pollen mixes with the eggs to form new seeds - this is called fertilisation.
    • It is the seeds that the farmer latter harvests and we use for food
    • So if there is less pollen as it is eaten by pollen beetles then this will mean the plant produces less seeds for the farmer to harvest for our food

    Diseases of plants

    • As well as being attached by pests crops can also be infected by fungus which causes disease such as mildew and yellow rust.
    • Just like pests these diseases can also damage a plants leaves.
    • Which means these crops will produce less food - like flour from wheat.
    • Sometimes the fungus can destroy the whole plant.
    • Like this Blight which attacks potatoes
    • Blight caused the Irish Potato famine which killed 1000’s of people

    Diseases of animals

    • Cows can catch a disease called Bovine (= cow) Tuberculosis (TB)
    • This disease makes cattle weak, loose their appetite, lose weight and eventually die.
    • The cattle may suffer from the disease a long time before they die.
    • During this time they will produce less and less milk if they are dairy cows and no meat if they are kept for beef.
    • TB is a disease which humans can be infected with too - in Victorian times it used to kill lots of people.
    • TB in people is very rare today but to keep it that way it is important to get rid of Bovine TB in all cows in the United Kingdom.
    • People can catch Bovine TB if they drink infected milk from infected cows
    • But don't worry the milk you drink in this country is safe as it is pasteurized (heated) as you saw in the Milk Food Story.
    • This heating would kill any TB bacteria if it was present in the milk.
    • It is highly unlikely that milk in this country would be infected with TB in the first place as farmers test their cattle for Bovine TB
    • It is best for the cattle, the farmer and us if none of the cows in this country had Bovine TB

    OSR & Weeds

    • A weed is any plant growing where it is not wanted. Some weeds are wild flowers and look nice in the countryside - like these poppies
    • But poppy seed is very similar to OSR seeds and if poppies grow in OSR then instead of crushing oilseed rape seed to get oil the seed will be contaminated with poppies - not good!


    • Sheep and weather
    • The unusual weather we had in early April was a disaster for some sheep farmers.
    • Many lambs died in the snow before the farmers could save them
    • The rest of the lambs we saw born are now doing well and enjoying the spring weather.
    • Everything Farmers do can be effected by the weather – not just their animals.
    • Bad weather at harvest can destroy a whole years work.
    • Storms, hailstones and wind can all damage crops and reduce the harvest
    • Sunny weather is what farmers need at harvest
    • Bad weather can affect crops at other times of the year too.
    • Too much rain or snow are bad for the crops over winter.
    • This crop was covered with snow for several days – as you can see there’s not much left now
    • Sometimes farmers can do things to combat the weather
    • Like cover carrots with straw to stop the frost destroying them
    • Making sure you have fresh carrots all winter
    • When the weather is dry farmers can sometimes provide the rain.
    • Potatoes need a lot of water to produce as much food as possible.
    • But if it is too wet then potatoes can rot in the ground before they can be harvested.
    • Farmers monitor how much water their potatoes need and how much is provided by rain.
    • If rainfall during the summer is low then farmers will spray water on their potatoes - this is called irrigation


Outcomes: (WILF)

  • Explain how animal life cycles contribute to food production
  • Explain how plant life cycles contribute to food production.
  • Understand how this knowledge can help us tackle and control bugs

Teaching notes:


Last modified: Monday, 7 April 2014, 1:12 PM