plant protection

Biological plant protection

According to IBMA (Association of Biological Crop Protection Manufacturers), the definition of biological crop protection is:

"Pest and disease control in crop protection based on living organisms and naturally occurring substances."

There are several methods of biological pest control, which are described in more detail below:

  • Natural regulation by the ecosystem
  • Preservation and promotion of natural enemies
  • Release of natural enemies
  • Importation and release of natural enemies (Classical Biological Pest Control).

Natural regulation by the ecosystem

In this natural biological control, the ecosystem independently regulates pest populations and diseases through natural enemies, entirely without human intervention. This occurs in unmanaged natural systems such as tropical forests - as opposed to agricultural systems.

Preservation and promotion of natural enemies

In this type of biological control, naturally occurring enemies are actively protected and their presence or activity is promoted.
This can be done by providing alternative hosts, food sources, shelter and refuges, or suitable microclimates. Also, by avoiding negative impacts on these beneficial insects, especially from toxic pesticides.

One example is the establishment of edge plantings and hedgerows in agricultural areas. On the one hand, these plantings provide protection and, on the other, contain pollen- and nectar-producing plants as a food source for many beneficial insects.

Release of natural enemies

This can be a relatively small number of beneficial insects that are established in the application area to reduce a mass-propagating pest in the long term.
Or, a large quantity of beneficial insects may be released in the short term to immediately control an acute pest problem; this release simulates a pesticide treatment. An example of this is the mass production and release of the ichneumon wasp Trichogramma against the corn borer.

This measure can also lead to the establishment of the beneficial insect in the application area and provide long-term control of the pest.

Importation and release of natural enemies (classical biological control)

In classical biological control, a natural enemy is imported from a pest's area of origin and released in the area of application.

This method is usually used against invasive alien species that have migrated from their area of origin to a new area without their natural enemies.