IPM Oklahoma!

Biological Control

Biological Control

Lady Beetle on Maple Aphid_royer_2005.gif

Biological control is the deliberate use of introduced and native natural enemies -predators, parasites, pathogens adn competitors to suppress and maintain populations of a target pest species (arthropod, weed, plant pathogen or other pest organism).

The common strategies for biological can be described as:

  • Conservation biological control
  • Classical biological control
  • Augmentative biological control 

Conservation biological control consists of practices that  encourage the presence, reproduction, survival and effectiveness of existing natural enemies of pests.  Conservation biological control had been incorporated into the "Glance n' Go" sampling system for greenbugs in wheat.

Classical biological control involves the introduction of a pest's natural enemies to a new location where they do not naturally occur.  Oklahoma State has been involved in several biological control programs for invasive weeds:

In addition, Oklahoma State has been involved in releasing Pseudacteon curvatus, the decapitating fly of the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta.    

Augmentative biological control involves the supplemental release of natural enemies to increase their numbers and effectiveness against a pest.  A current project being conducted at Oklahoma State University that utilizes augmentative biological control is the use of banker plants to control greenhouse pests.  Banker plants thare a set of plants set up as a rearing / release system consisting of three basic elements:

  1. The banker plant.
  2. Alternative prey or other food to sustain natural enemies.
  3. The natural enemies themselves.



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