Biological control can be less or more expensive than pesticides. You can incur significant expenses studying, choosing, testing and breeding a bioagent. However, in cases where bioagents are applied to low-level pest populations, pest control can be long-term and economical. Some fungi attack insects and kill them.
A fungal spore penetrates the insect and grows all over it. It takes about a week for the insect to die. Fungi are cost-effective, unless a high application rate is needed for severe insect infestations. Biocontrol, short for biological control, is the management of a pest, typically an invasive species, by introducing a natural predator into the environment.
Biocontrol reduces the pest population and its impacts on the environment. Natural enemies are an environmentally friendly alternative to pesticides that are often used to control invasive species. Biocontrol is sustainable and long-term; the biggest cost to control an introduced species is research involved in determining the safety and efficacy of a biocontrol agent. Therefore, biocontrol can be cost-effective in the long term.
The Biological Insect Control Laboratory at the University of Rhode Island has many ongoing biocontrol projects targeting invasive species in Rhode Island to help reduce the ecological and social impact of a pest. 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.
Seasonal inoculative release of parasitoids and insect predators has been a highly successful strategy for biological control in greenhouses in Europe. This biological control agent relies on rain at the appropriate times during the season to be successful. Potential biological control agents are found by examining weeds in their area of origin abroad and looking for damage caused by natural enemies of weeds. Part of this plan recommends that the USDA accelerate the development, testing, evaluation, transfer and post-release monitoring of environmentally safe biological control agents.
These two approaches are fundamentally different from all other approaches to biological control because they are not intended to establish a population of natural enemies that multiplies to a level where it achieves long-term balance with the population of its hosts or prey. In order to choose a successful biological control program, it is crucial to identify the pest along with its population levels and the circumstances of the infestation. These tools can further improve the implementation and success of bio-based pest management approaches, including biological control. Controlling pests with their natural enemies, including parasites, predators, diseases and competing organisms, is called biological control.
The success of this biological control has been reinforced by cultural methods, such as timing cuttings to reduce weevil populations and avoid disturbance of natural enemies. It is an alternative to pesticides and poisons that can offer a few different advantages and disadvantages. Biological control agents are usually insects, but fungi, bacteria and nematodes (eels) are sometimes used. Less persistent pesticides reduce contact, especially if used with knowledge of the biology of the natural enemy to avoid susceptible life stages.
In addition, the disadvantages of using entomogenic fungi as biocontrol agents against arthropod pests have been absent due to the need for specific environmental conditions (humidity greater than 80% and above) during the prolonged period in which fungi are required to germinate the spores and then penetrate the surface of the arthropod cuticle. Unlike chemical pesticides, biological control agents, also called bioagents, leave no lasting residues that remain in the environment. Biological control can be defined as the deliberate use of natural enemies (predators, parasites, pathogens and competitors) to suppress and maintain populations of a target pest species (insects, mites, weeds, plant pathogens, and other pest organisms). .