How to use biocontrol

You can use biological control—to keep pests in check. How? By leveraging the powers of natural enemies.

Do biopesticides work? Can they effectively control insect and disease pests? Which ones? On which crops?

The following Microsoft Excel spreadsheets summarize the research done at universities to answer these questions. If you are not able to open this type of file, please contact Amara Dunn, and she would be happy to get you the information in a format you can access.

Purchasing biocontrol agents

Many commercial insectaries rear and market a variety of natural enemies including predaceous mites, lacewings, and many species of parasitoids. Success with such releases requires appropriate timing (the host must be present or the natural enemy will simply die or leave the area) and release of the correct number of natural enemies per unit area (release rate). In many cases, the most effective release rate has not been identified as it will vary depending on crop type and target host density. Success also requires a healthy and robust natural enemy.

Biopesticides can be purchased from many suppliers of other materials for farms and gardens. If the biopesticide contains living microorganisms, it may require special storage. Always read and follow the label of any pesticide—including biopesticides—in order to minimize risk to yourself and the environment, and maximize effectiveness.

A resource published by the Association of Natural Biocontrol Producers:
Guidelines for Purchasing and Using Commercial Natural Enemies in North America (pdf)