Biological Pest Control uses , advantages and disadvantages
Controlling the pests with their natural enemies , including the parasites , the predators , the diseases & competing the organisms , is called the biological control , It is an alternative to using the broad-spectrum pesticides , that kill off the beneficial insects as well as the pest organisms , It is an environmental friendly method & it does not introduce the pollutants into the environment .
Biological Pest Control
The biological control minimizes the environmental , legal & public safety concerns , Integrated pest control uses the bio-agents in combination with the other measures , The biological control agents are called the bio-agents , leave behind no long-lasting residues which remain in the environment , They don’t leach into the groundwater or create the resistant strains of the insects .
It is highly specific to one pest , It can either be less or more expensive than the pesticides , You can incur significant expense studying , choosing , testing & breeding the bio-agent , A long term solution if equilibrium is established , Biological Pest Control is inexpensive over the long term & it can be used in a glasshouse .
The pests do not become resistant , There is no environmental contamination , If the biological control organism is introduced , It does not have to be re-introduced , The chemical pesticides must be used repeatedly , So , more expenses & time consumed , The biological control limits the subsequent use of the pesticides .
It is an alternative to the pesticides & the poisons , When you remove the organism from the food web , It can disrupt all the others around it , so , you have to be very careful , biological control is a better , safer method of control than using pesticides .
Biological pest control is the use of the natural predators as agents to attack the weeds , The biological control agents are the insects , but fungi , bacteria & nematodes are sometimes used , Some fungi attack the insects & kill them , The fungal spore penetrates the insect & grows throughout it , It takes about a week for the insect to die , Fungi are cost-effective unless a high application rate is needed for heavy insect infestations .
Biological Control advantages
Biological Pest control is a very specific strategy , whatever the predator is introduced will only control the population of the pest they are meant to target , making it a green alternative to the chemical or the mechanical control methods , whereas the weed killing chemicals can destroy fruit-bearing plants , The biological control allows the fruit to be left uninterrupted while the weeds are destroyed .
Biological pest control does not have adverse effect on the human health or the environment , It is self-sustaining , It can be cost effective , When the cost of testing & introducing control agents has been met , the on-going costs are small , There is no need to find & identify every individual weed to be treated , An effective agent will search out all suitable plants of the weed .
Development of the host resistance is not a problem , The biological pest control is compatible with most other control techniques ( except sometimes the use of the insecticides & the herbicides ) , The biological control reduces the competitiveness & reproductive capacity of the weed , making it more manageable .
The biological control method of pest management does not use the chemicals , It uses many organisms that are either the predators or the parasites to the pest , The pest is the organism that causes damage to the people and their crops , The biological control should be implemented whenever possible because it does not pollute the environment .
The great benefit of this method is its selectivity , There is a restricted danger of damage to non target plant species , Biological control does not create new problems , like conventional pesticides , Selectivity is the most important factor regarding the balance of the agricultural ecosystems because a great damage to non target species can lead to the restriction of natural enemies’ populations .
The biological control agent (BCA) can be deployed in the agricultural ecosystem , so as not to damage non target pests , depends on appropriate host specificity tests which determine the potential host range .
The ability to self-perpetuate is an interesting advantage of the biological control method , BCAs will increase in number & spread , Because BCAs are self-propagating & dispersing , pest control is self-perpetuating too , This is quite important regarding the economic feasibility of the biological control .
Another benefit of the biological control method is the environmental safety of BCAs , The pest is unable (or very slow) to develop the resistance , The biological control can be cost effective , Its effectiveness is based on the self-perpetuation & self-propagation , So , if we establish a control agent in a specific area , it will reduce the target pest in an acceptable threshold for quite long time .
The financial benefit of the biological control is greatest in the cases when there is no other option , The biological control is very effective in the inaccessible areas , The cost efficiency of this method is that the yield benefit of the biological control is less than yield achieved by the agrochemicals , but the primary cost of BCA is lower than the chemical pesticides .
The biological control is the attractive alternative to the agrochemicals , the use of environmentally friendly alternatives to the chemical pesticides are absolutely required in agriculture , No chemicals are used , so , there’s less pollution , disruption of the food chain & risk to the people eating the food that has been sprayed .
BCAs are more susceptible to the environmental conditions than the chemical control , This consequently causes the fluctuations to the pest populations , It reflects to the product quality , to the crop yield and of course to the price of the product on market , if the annual harvest of the crop is not stable , it will affect the grower’s income stability .
The biological control method is environmentally safe , This method offers less risk of the residues in food chain , biological control is most suited for exotic pest that are not closely related to indigenous beneficial species , Biological control is less expensive than the chemical control .
Disadvantages of Biological Control
Biological control is a slow process , It takes a lot of time & patience for the biological agents to work their magic on the pest population , whereas the other methods like the pesticides work offer immediate results , The upside to this is the long-term effect biological control provides .
It can be fickle , you can’t control whatever natural enemy , you set loose in an ecosystem , While it is supposed to manage one pest , your predator will switch to a different target , they may decide eating your crops instead of the insects infesting them , but when you introduce a new species to the environment , there is a risk of disrupting the natural food chain .
Although it is cheap in the long run , the process of setting up the biological control system is a costly endeavor , A lot of planning money goes into developing the successful system , The predator you introduce may not eat the pest , It could eat useful species , The predators population may increase & get out of control , The predator may not stay in the area where it is needed .
The biological control has slow action , It lacks the immediacy of chemical control , So , During the period required until the natural enemies control the pest population , the pests may be present in the intolerable populations , The agent may become a pest itself , Frequent input is needed to maintain population balance and it needs to be large scale .
The pesticides can not be used because they will damage the biological control system , The need for a difficult transition period from insecticides to the biological control may make the introduction of the biological control unattractive for a grower , It is expensive to research and It needs a high level of skills & initial set up costs .
The biological control is unpredictable , Its unpredictability lies mostly in the fact that the natural enemies are dependent on the environmental conditions , The deployment of BCAs in a new environment requires a lot of research to succeed the desirable results because of climatic constraints .
It is difficult & sometimes expensive to develop biological control in field because it requires high qualified scientific staff , There is relatively less investment in the biological control research in compare with the chemical pesticides , The variation & changes in behaviour of natural enemies that can be caused by rearing conditions are manifold , This variation leads to inconsistent results in the biological control .
The potential agents are expensive to test for specificity , Host specificity testing may take many years to complete because of the need for thoroughness , The biological control operates over large areas , so , it can not be limited to the individual properties or paddock , It does not eradicate the pest organism completely , because if the control agent reduces the pest population too far , it destroys its own food source .