Biological control: insects at the service of the planet
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Biological control: insects at the service of the planet

Biological control: insects at the service of the planet

Using nature to fight its bad deeds...a logical alternative called "biological control". Responsible way to reduce the numbers of an invader (plant or animal) by being eaten by one of its natural enemies.

 

 

 

The control of insect pests of human crops has always been a major challenge for any agricultural activity anywhere in the world. This is why the production of pesticides, which nevertheless poses serious risks to our health, environment and biodiversity, has skyrocketed. On the other hand, biological control does not pollute the field, garden or water. It poses no danger to humans, plants or animals.

 

 

Biological control: to naturally reduce insect pests

Furthermore, while chemical pesticides kill all insects, pests, or otherwise harmless, biological control only eliminates or repels pest insects.

 

 

 

An effective way to protect crops

To cite a well-known example: in order to combat the European corn borer, caterpillar significantly reduces production, heavy releases, hymenoptera, is carried out in the open field (from 300,000 to 600,000 individuals per acre). These tiny hymenopterans then place their larvae in the body of pests that are mites, which will kill their host at birth.

 

A sustainable, efficient and environmentally friendly method that also works with pests of other crops to the extent that it is currently estimated worldwide that 32 million hectares are "treated" in this way each year.

 

sustainable method

It emphasizes several advantages: there is little chance that insect pests will develop resistance to their natural predators in the context of biological control. In addition, biological control is likely to be more economical than using chemical pesticides in the long term because farmers do not need to purchase expensive chemicals or equipment. By practicing biological control, they are also reducing the outage of their agricultural machinery. If they arrange their farm in such a way as to keep this aid growing permanently for the following years, they can even secure their business far more than they can conventionally.

 

biological control

Pests in action: the European corn borer

 

Once the biological control system is in place, it operates independently. However, it takes a little patience to see results, as the natural balance between insect pests and predators is established over time.

 

If the natural predator of the pest lives nearby, then biological control is simplified. If there is no favorable environment for these growing aids, you will have to find a way to strengthen their presence!

 

What are natural predators?

There are three types of natural predators of insect pests: insect predators, parasites, and diseases that favor microorganisms such as viruses and fungi.

 

Who are the predators (controlled by insects)?

The main predators are insects such as ladybirds, mantis, wingspans, or dragonflies.

 

But we also count birds that play the same role as well as small mammals like shrews! Each predator feeds on hundreds or even thousands of insects during its life and does no harm to crops.

 

 

Who are parasites (anti-parasites)?

When it comes to insect parasites, most are other insects that lay their eggs inside the eggs or bodies of insects or live animals called "hosts." The parasite feeds on the host during its growth and then kills it. This technique is slower but effective.

 

What is microbiological control?

Finally, some viruses and fungi are vectors of diseases that infect and eliminate insects. With the spread of disease within insects, it is possible to quickly eradicate entire populations.

 

biological control

 

 

As a reminder: the majority of insect species are beneficial to us by playing many ecological roles for our activities and are, in any case, part of the food chain and ecosystems. Less than 1% of them are pests.

 

They are the main food for a large number of species of birds and reptiles.

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