What is Integrated Pest Management?
Bioprotection or biocontrol can be used within an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme/approach. Integrated Pest Management can be defined as:
“an holistic approach to management of a pest by all available means, including the judicious use of chemical pesticides.”
A more precise definition and the principles of IPM can be found on the EU Sustainable Use of Pesticides webpage.
Why use biocontrol?
There are a number of very good reasons to use biopesticides and biological controls:
- They are natural and have minimal environmental impact, plus they leave little or no toxic residues so we get cleaner and safer food.
- They can introduce different modes of action to their chemical counterparts, reducing the selection pressure for pesticide resistance.
- Many have zero or very low pre-harvest and re-entry intervals
- Many products are highly specific to the target pest.
- And many are perfectly compatible with standard spray equipment.
- Nemaflor® (e-nema) which contains tiny worm-like nematodes that infect and kill pests such as thrips and leaf miners; and
- Trianum-G (Koppert Biological Systems) which contains a fungus that grows along the roots of plants and protects them from incoming disease
A good example of how biocontrol or bioprotection fits within an overall IPM strategy can be seen here: IPM Pyramid
Illustrations of how these components can be put together for specific crops can be seen in these panels from IBMA: IPM in practice
What is monitoring and scouting?
A quick guide to effective crop monitoring is provided in this short video from the UK’s AHDB:
How do you apply bioprotection agents?
Application of bioprotection agents and the correct dosage are important for their effective use. This is addressed in the following videos for the fungal bioprotection agent Metarhizium.
Safe use and storage
Unlike conventional crop protection agents biological materials can require more care, particularly in regard to aspects of storage such as ambient temperature and shelf-life. The following video highlights some of these issues for the biocontrol agent Metarhizium:
As for conventional pesticides care of personal hygiene and safety still needs to be considered. This video highlights the need for PPE in the use of the fungal biocontrol agent Metarhizium:
Knowing the identity of your problem pest is critical to sourcing an effective means of managing the pest. Here we provide guidance and tools to help pest identification, and also potentially develop your diagnostic skills.
A better understanding of the range of biocontrol agents and the way in which they interact with the target pest can help in the selection of a suitable agent for your production system, but also provide insight into how they can be more effectively used. Here we provide additional information and resources to provide more information on these novel approaches.
A more sustainable approach to the management of agricultural and environmental pests is the use of biological control (or biocontrol). Here we briefly explain the definition of biocontrol and the different types of biocontrol methods for managing pest problems.