Biological control is not a commercially available technology. It requires knowledge of pests and their natural enemies. Biological control involves taking a closer look at the landscape and understanding the many interactions that take place between multiple species. Simple changes in landscape practices can go a long way in improving beneficial insects and other predators.
These efforts help restore nature's balance in the garden, where predators, parasitoids and pathogens can limit pest populations. There are three general approaches to biological control: importing, increasing and conserving natural enemies. Each of these techniques can be used alone or in combination in a biological control program. This is done as a way to increase the number and types of natural enemies present and add an additional source of mortality to control a pest.
Since most of the increase involves mass production and the periodic colonization of natural enemies, this type of biological control has lent itself to commercial development. Similarly, extensive testing of the host area of the biological control species is carried out to ensure that it does not have undesirable impacts on native species. The recommended release rates of Trichogramma in horticultural or field crops range from 5,000 to 200,000 per acre per week, depending on the level of pest infestation. With a 60% success rate and 95% of pest species still to be addressed, this is clearly an area where the request will generate a wonderful return on investment.
New biological control efforts are currently needed for many of the existing pest problems, both for programs directed against introduced pests and for additional work towards the conservation of natural enemies in pest control systems. Biological control is a valuable ecosystem service that describes the suppression of a population of insect pests by one or more living organisms known as natural enemies. Many of the most important pests are exotic and invasive species that seriously affect agriculture, horticulture, forestry and urban environments. There may also be some conflict with pest control for large producers due to the difficulty of attacking the pest species and the use of shelters by pest insects, as well as natural enemies.
For example, snakes consume a lot of rodent and insect pests that can damage agricultural crops or spread diseases. In familiar landscapes, the activity of natural enemies is often disrupted by the use of pesticides, changes in land management practices, and the limited availability of habitat used by natural enemies. Successful biological control will suppress the pest population to a level that would not cause harm and, therefore, the use of pesticides can be delayed or completely avoided. This is called biological conservation control and is achieved by attracting natural enemies to the landscape and protecting them through changes in landscape management practices.
The suppression of a population of insect pests by natural enemies can occur naturally and without the help of humans, or can be facilitated by human intervention. With greater reliance on mechanization and pesticides, diversity in farmland has rapidly disappeared and the impacts on natural enemies are only now beginning to be understood (Ryszkowski et al.