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?

Practical details on using biopesticides effectively, including information on mode of action, compatibility with other pesticides, best storage conditions, and shelf life.

Creating habitat

for beneficial insects
(natural enemies and pollinators)

When choosing plants that support beneficial insects look for plants whose flowers produce lots of pollen and nectar that is easy for insects to access. Most plants in the aster, carrot and mint families will support beneficial insects.

Resources from the Pollinator Network at Cornell on creating pollinator habitats.

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)