Biological control is the use of living organisms to suppress pest populations, making them less harmful than they would otherwise be. Biological control can be used against all types of pests, including vertebrates, plant and weed pathogens, as well as insects, but the methods and agents used are different for each type of pest. This publication will focus on biological control of insects and related organisms. Biological control is used as an integral component of IPM programs in commercial ornamental production.
Given the current emphasis on sustainable production systems, the use of biological control in greenhouses and nurseries could be expected to increase. However, there is concern that this is not the case. Here, we explore the advantages of biological control and the challenges that producers must overcome to implement and maintain a successful program. We also present the current status of natural enemies for the control of important pests in floriculture and nursery production.
Factors that favor the use of biological control Biological control uses living organisms to reduce pest populations. Because biological control reduces pesticide use, is highly selective and self-perpetuating, there are several important advantages, as described below. In addition, an entire industry has been developed to produce, disseminate and aid in the adoption of natural enemies. When implementing biological control in an IPM program, there is less reliance on pesticides to manage pest populations.
This can help address pesticide resistance issues and lessen the negative impact on overall plant quality that can occur with repeated pesticide applications. Biological control may also be a simpler option for producers facing increasing rules and regulations governing the use of pesticides. Despite the advantages, the use of biological control in ornamental crops in the United States and Europe is limited and is not increasing. Some of the factors listed in this section have made biological control in floriculture and nursery crops more complicated than for other commodities.
There are many obstacles that growers must overcome in order for biological control to work. The intensive use of pesticides needed to meet quarantine requirements for invasive species creates an environment that is also lethal to natural enemies of arthropods. In addition, producers who must spend significant amounts on insecticide treatments to meet quarantine requirements are less likely to spend more money on biological control agents. To date, no natural enemy has been approved to comply with quarantine requirements for any invasive pest in the United States.
With a new invasive pest every 60 days in California, and with plant material moving within the state and across the country, quarantine requirements are more restrictive than almost anywhere else in the world. In addition, restrictions governing the international movement of natural enemies have limited the number of new natural enemies that can be used in biological control programs. Biological Control of Important Pests In this section, we describe the current state of biological control of some of the most important pests of ornamental crops grown in commercial greenhouses, flower fields and nurseries. Table 1 summarizes natural enemies that have a proven track record of providing control effectiveness or that have research to support their use.
A number of predators are commercially available or naturally migrating to ornamental crops (for example,. However, few ornamental crop growers use any of these predators in formal aphid control programs because a high aphid population develops on plants prior to successful biological control, and the resulting skins and molasses are unacceptable. The use of lacewings in biological control programs in greenhouses and nurseries is limited and few scientific studies have documented their success in ornamental crops. Parasitoids, including tachinid flies and parasitic wasps, attack moth larvae and eggs of pest species (e.g.
e.g. Although they reduce pest populations, larval parasitoids do not kill their hosts immediately; therefore, parasitized larvae can continue to feed until the last stage and can still damage crops. Applications of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) products (Fig. To control caterpillar pests will not damage parasitoids.
Although it is a species of invasive pest in California, requiring plant material to be completely clean when shipped, the European pepper moth (Duponchelia). Fovealis) has been effectively controlled with Steinernema. Generalist predators that are commercially available, such as the soil predatory mite Hypoaspis (% 3DStratiolaelaps) miles and the wandering beetle Atheta coriaria, have also been effective in controlling this pest. Therefore, these natural enemies could be effective against other caterpillar pests that are not invasive species in greenhouses and nurseries.
Mushroom Mosquitoes, Shoreflies, and Moth Flies To control fungal mosquito infestations in greenhouses, commercial insectariums generally recommend the use of multiple natural enemies (bacteria, NPE, predatory mites, and predatory beetles), presumably because no species alone can provide acceptable control. NPES also successfully control fungal mosquitoes, but they are not very effective against shoreflies and have not been tested against moth flies. The advantage of NPE is that they reproduce by infecting mosquitoes with fungi. Therefore, they can be established in greenhouses and provide control for quite long periods; in addition, they are transported by adult flies from one pot to another.
The most effective species is Steinernema feltiae, probably because it is a better nematode than S. Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelelensis, which is commercially available, will control all of these pests because it is toxic to most dipterans. Several tests have demonstrated acceptable levels of control when the material is applied as a soak to pots. They are natural enemies that can be used to control leaf miner species within the genus Liriomyza.
Growers who produce cut gerbera flowers often use D. Initially released when the plants are young and when leaf miners are first observed, this natural enemy gradually builds up and can provide control over the life of this two-year crop. Isaea is expensive (see example of Diglyphus costs), producers routinely collect these parasitoids once the numbers accumulate in the crop with a small vacuum and move them to adjacent crops. Isaea is generally considered to be most effective in warmer greenhouse conditions, so it is often recommended that they be supplemented with the release of Dacnusa sibirica during the winter.
The biological control of leaf miners in gerbera can be disrupted by pests such as the Lygus bug, broadleaf mites and mealybugs that may require the application of pesticides to prevent damage to crops. NPES such as Steinernema feltiae have the advantage of being able to infect insects while inside leaves, and there is evidence that they may be compatible with parasitoids, but their poor survival on the leaf surface limits their effectiveness. Efforts are being made to formulate nematodes in a way that protects them from desiccation and other adverse environmental effects. This can improve their performance, especially in greenhouses, where relative humidity is usually high.
The commercially available parasitoid Thripobius semiluteus is specific to greenhouse thrips and can be an effective biological control agent (Fig. Given the gregarious nature of this thrips and its regular use of copious amounts of anal fluid in defense against predation and parasitism, few natural enemies can provide effective control. Several predatory species, including Amblyseius swirskii, Neoseiulus (%3Damblyseius) cucumeris and Hypoaspis miles, can attack and kill western flower thrips (H. Miles feeds on thrips (pupae that fall from the plant to the ground).
However, western flower thrips use anal fluid defensively, and this can be a good deterrent against predatory mites. Therefore, large numbers of predatory mites must be present in the plant so that they can defeat larger thrips by simultaneously attacking two or more mites on each thrips. This can be achieved by releasing these mites in bags (see photo of the bag) and allowing predators to move towards plants over time. When there are few options for thrips control, growers can use one sachet per plant, which will ensure large quantities for thrips control.
Mini envelopes have been developed to try to keep costs down when using this technique. NPE of the genus Heterorhabditis have been used to control thrips in Western flowers with mixed results. They are applied to the pot medium at a high rate (400 per cm) to infect the prepupal and pupal stages of thrips. Even with this application rate, which makes nematodes very expensive, they rarely cause more than 50% mortality.
Predatory mite and nematode combinations can achieve greater thrips control. The presence of mites in the plant causes more second-stage thrips to fall to the ground to become pupae, where they are susceptible to nematode attack. The use of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana (see whitefly) has also been successful when thrips populations are low. Entomopathogens.
NPES have been the most effective biological control agent against larvae of root weevil pests, such as the black vine weevil and the Diaprepe root weevil (Fig. Provide acceptable levels of control for producers. The ability of nematodes to establish populations by reproducing within their hosts is especially effective in crops with long periods of development, such as most woody ornamental plants. Because weevils are highly susceptible to infection by these nematodes, the cost of treatment is competitive with the chemical insecticides most commonly used for these insects, imidacloprid and bifenthrin.
The entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae is effective against several species of root weevils. Currently, there are several companies that produce this entomopathogen as a biopesticide. Whiteflies of the genera Trialeurodes and Bemisia can be controlled by releasing Encarsia formosa (Fig. If there are mixed species of whitefly, some commercial insectaries will combine parasitoid species in a single release chart (for example,.
There are no commercially available parasitoids for the iris whitefly, so growers often resort to pesticides when this whitefly appears in significant quantities. The advent of very early-stage, egg-eating Amblyseius swirskii is a promising addition to biological control in the greenhouse. Many growers use this predator to control both whiteflies and thrips. Swirskii also feeds on mites, has a clear preference for the immature stages of whiteflies and thrips.
BioWorks Inc., has commercially developed a mycoinsecticide containing spores of the fungus Beauveria bassiana. For the control of whitefly and other soft-bodied insects; one product is for use in conventional crops (BotaniGard) and another is approved for organic production (Mycotrol O). Isaria fumosoroseus is also commercially available (Certis USA) for the control of whitefly and several other arthropods for use in greenhouses. These microbial insecticide products can be applied to foliage with existing equipment used to apply any foliar pesticide.
However, they are not compatible with chemical fungicides and are adversely affected by several botanicals that have fungicidal activity. While efficacy can be very good, insect mortality will generally be slower than would be expected from chemical pesticides, and adult whiteflies are not affected by these applications. These mycoinsecticidal products are generally considered to be compatible with most natural enemies, although the timing of release of natural enemies after spraying can be critical and depends on the host. Biological control may not work on all pests Natural enemies are available for other pests, but there is limited data to support effectiveness.
Biological control of the broad mite is very difficult, although the use of predatory mites such as Amblyseius swirskii and Neoseiulus cucumeris can help control the pest. The early presence and damage of these mites is difficult to detect in floriculture crops, so growers often have no choice but to spray acaricides. Predatory soil-dwelling mites (Hypoaspis spp. However, there are no specific guidelines on how to use these predatory mites that are based on practical field trials.
Nor are there effective biological control agents for scale insects that attack ornamental crops in the greenhouse or nursery. Although the mealybug destroyer, Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, is commercially available and often recommended, adults rarely recover after release. However, the commercial availability of mealybug destroying larvae may be the breakthrough needed for biological control of mealybugs. However, this predator is not effective on the long-tailed mealybug.
Montrouzieri requires cottony egg masses for egg-laying; long-tailed mealybugs don't have cottony egg masses. Natural enemies for mealybugs are commercially available, including ladybugs, green lacewing larvae, and several parasitoids such as Aphytis melinus for the California red scale and Metaphycus helvolus for the brown soft scale and hemispherical scale. However, while these natural enemies are often recommended, biological control will not necessarily prevent large-scale infestations, and there are no published research studies to support their use in ornamental production. Michael Parrella is Dean of the College of Agricultural and Biological Sciences at the University of Idaho and President of the Entomological Society of America; Ed Lewis is Department Head and Professor of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Nematology at the University of Idaho.
Effective pest control Entomopathogenic fungi (microbial pesticides) Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) (can be combined with parasitoids) Bacillus thuringiensis ssp. Israelensis Diglyphus isaea, Dacnusa sibirica Entomopathogenic nematode combined with predatory mites Entomopathogenic fungus (microbial pesticide) Thripobius semiluteus (for greenhouse thrips). Biocontrol should also be preventive (before pest pressure increases). If you expect to use only biological control to solve a pest problem that is already out of control, you will probably be disappointed.
Similarly, if environmental conditions are very favorable for a pest, a biocontrol solution is likely to be insufficient. When interpreting an efficacy trial, you should compare a biocontrol of interest with control treatments. Of course, it would be great to see biocontrol products that are as effective as chemical control (such as Bio, and sometimes they are). Sometimes biocontrol can be less effective than chemical control, but more effective than not taking any pest control measures (such as Bio.
Sometimes there is so much variability (represented by the lines extending above and below the blue bars in the graph, called error bars), that a biocontrol product is not statistically different from the untreated control or the chemical control (such as Bio. This makes it difficult to draw conclusions about how well the product worked. Completely spam free, choose not to participate in. Spam protection stopped this request.
Contact the owner of the website. The import of natural enemies, sometimes referred to as classical biological control, is used when a pest of exotic origin is the target of the biocontrol program. Pests are constantly imported to countries where they are not native, either accidentally or, in some cases, intentionally. Many of these introductions do not result in the establishment or, if they do, the organism may not become a pest.
However, it is not uncommon for some of these introduced organisms to become pests, due to the lack of natural enemies to suppress their populations. In these cases, the importation of natural enemies can be highly effective (Caltagirona 198). If antagonists are an important mechanism of control in the native range and antagonists in the introduced range have limited or no impact on the invader compared to antagonists in the native range, then they are released from the antagonists can be considered a facilitating effect that increases the success of the invader (Colautti et. al.
Researchers detected a variety of predators and three genera of ichpneumonid hyperparasitoids that attacked and parasitized the released biological control agent, reducing their overall success in controlling the undesirable winter moth (Broadley et al. For this reason, it is often the parasitoid of choice for use in a banking plant system, although hyperparasitoids can disrupt control. In some cases, the host being controlled will acquire an endosymbiont to help resist a biological control agent after years of successful control (e.g. Biological control is an exciting science because it constantly incorporates new knowledge and techniques.
For example, in general, biological control in short-term crops, such as bedding plants, is more difficult because biological control agents rarely act as quickly as chemicals. Finally, in the case of phytophagous biological control agents, success can be partially attributed to the abundance and high density of their non-native plant hosts. However, because biological control agents have been reported to control some non-native species, we know that these antagonists must be crucial, at least in the control of some invasions. Of these failures, predation and parasitism by generalist native fauna accounted for approximately 20% of failed biological control introductions (Stilling 199), demonstrating that native generalist antagonists play an important role in the success or failure of biological control agents.
introduced. This vulnerability of biological control agents to parasitism and predation by native, co-introduced and subsequently introduced parasitoids and hyperparasitoids should be of concern to biological control researchers, especially if non-native biological control agents have been established during decades (Herron-Sweet et al. Several of the above examples support biotic interference and enemy reversal hypotheses, which are two key antagonist hypotheses that address the vulnerability of biological control agents to antagonists of their native or introduced ranges. .