Biological Pest Control 9-1
Lesson Nine - Biological Pest Control
Many gardeners and consumers are concerned with the quality, purity and safety of the food
they eat. With soils becoming tainted and water sources polluted, it is a valid concern. In
the farming industry, use of pesticides and herbicides has grown for years as farmers have
attempted to control the pests and weeds that challenge their crops.
With consumers demanding safer produce, there has recently been an active movement away
from excessive pesticide use. One way to achieve this is by the use of Biological pest con-
trols rather than chemical pest controls. Biological controls consist of insects, mites and mi-
cro-organisms which, as natural enemies, keep pests under control.
Many commercial hydroponic growers who produce their crops within a controlled environ-
ment greenhouse exclusively use biological controls for problem pests. When bringing bio-
logical controls or beneficial insects into the greenhouse a natural balance can be achieved.
It is possible to control pests in an open field with biological means but it is not as effective
as within a greenhouse or other closed environment.
Virtually all insects have a predator or enemy and that is what makes biological control
work. There are insectaries (facilities that raise insects) throughout the US and Worldwide
that breed and sell beneficial insects. Beneficials are shipped as eggs, larvae or adults and
are usually sent overnight to the user who quickly distributes them to the problem areas.
In the world of beneficial insects, there are predators and parasites.
Predators will actually consume the pest insect. A lacewing is a good
example of a predator. Lacewings are welcomed in most gardens be-
cause they are know for their voracious appetite and broad diet of various insects.
A parasite is an insect that lays its eggs within the egg sack of another
insect, displacing or
consuming the eggs that were there. The Larvae that emerge from the egg sack are those of
the parasite, not it's victim.
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