The state of commercial augmentative biological control: plenty of natural enemies, but a frustrating lack of uptake

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Abstract

Augmentative biological control concerns the periodical release of natural enemies. In com- mercial augmentative biological control, natural enemies are mass-reared in biofactories for release in large numbers to obtain an immediate control of pests. The history of commercial mass production of natural enemies spans a period of roughly 120 years. It has been a successful, environmentally and eco- nomically sound alternative for chemical pest control in crops like fruit orchards, maize, cotton, sugar cane, soybean, vineyards and greenhouses. Currently, aug- mentative biological control is in a critical phase, even though during the past decades it has moved from a cottage industry to professional production. Many efficient species of natural enemies have been discovered and 230 are commercially available today. The industry developed quality control guidelines, mass production, shipment and release methods as well as adequate guidance for farmers. However, augmentative biological control is applied on a frustratingly small acreage. Trends in research and application are reviewed, causes explaining the limited uptake are discussed and ways to increase application of augmentative biological control are explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
JournalBioControl
Volume57
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • environmental risk-assessment
  • pest-management
  • pesticides
  • challenges

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