What is Biological Pest Control?
Biological control is a technique that uses other organisms to control pests. This type of pest control uses parasitism, predation, herbivory, and other natural mechanisms to keep a pest population in check. In most cases, it also involves an active human management role. Biological control is effective in controlling many pests, including a wide range of harmful pests, and is often used in sensitive areas where chemical or mechanical control is not effective.
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Conservation of existing natural enemies in an environment
One of the most important aspects of biological pest control is the conservation of existing natural enemies. These creatures are common in every production system, and they are adapted to the pest in question. Conservation of these beneficial insects is an affordable, effective, and easy method. These creatures can be observed easily and are often already present in the environment. For example, ladybeetles and hoverfly larvae can be found in aphid colonies. Similarly, they can be found in the homes of the aphid, which is a natural prey.
While many of these species feed on different hosts, their reproductive rates are high enough to increase their numbers quickly when new hosts are available. They must also be effective at searching for these hosts. Ideally, these organisms would be focused on a few species to maximize their effect. For example, a spider must live near a host that has eggs available. In addition, the pest’s host must be present to support the natural enemies.
One form of inoculation for biological pest control is releasing native parasitoids. This method coincides with the emergence of a key lepidopteran pest, the pearl millet head miner Helicochilus albipunctella. Scientists at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Niger, Malick Niango Ba, have used this inundative biological control approach to control various lepidopteran pests of several crops around the world.
Another approach to biological pest control is augmentation. This method prevents an outbreak by providing a large population of a pest with a knockdown effect. It is similar to inundation but can be more effective. Microbial pesticides, such as Bt, are augmentations. Inoculation for biological pest control requires extensive distribution of information and capacity building. Nevertheless, small-scale farmers in developing countries can benefit from augmentation biological control.
Inundation as part of biological pest control is a method that is used to release beneficial insects on crops. The release of these insects occurs in multiple stages, each with a specific time and frequency. For example, in Brazil, inundation is used against the sugar cane borer on over 300 000 ha. In California, inundation is used to control soya bean bugs and their eggs, and a variety of other pests.
Inundation is one of the most important methods of biological pest control, and its effectiveness is evident. In several European countries, inundation has proven highly effective against the infestation of spider mites. In addition, other methods of biological pest control include the use of genetically modified organisms and the use of non-chemical insecticides. The use of these methods is now commonplace to prevent pest outbreaks, restore soil fertility, and increase crop productivity.
You can use beneficial nematodes to help control pests without using chemical pesticides. They can be used as a stand-alone program, or in combination with other BCAs. When used in combination with other chemicals, they broaden the control spectrum and can control all stages of the pest lifecycle. Beneficial nematodes also help improve plant health, reducing the amount of time required for a plant to recover from a pest infestation.
These worms can help control more than 200 pest species. You should check with your local garden center to find the nematodes that will best control your particular pest. You can also find them online through major online retailers. However, keep in mind that they do not have a long shelf life. The worms must live when added to the soil. They are usually available in many retail outlets, including big-box stores, garden centers, and online retailers.