Some Advantages of Biological Pest Control
Biocontrol is an alternative that can be used where pesticides (herbicides) can not be used to reduce pest populations. Biocontrol methods can be used in agricultural and wild settings to prevent pest populations from reaching uncontrollable and damaging numbers. (1,2)
When you use this method correctly a number of commercial biological control agents/products can be very effective in agricultural and range settings. Biocontrol agents (often plant eating insects) have evolved very specific host preferences for the target pest, unlike broad spectrum pesticides which kill a wide range of species. They also continually reproduce them selves when established (do not need to be reapplied) and can spread into new areas on their own. (1,2)
Some Disadvantages of Biological Pest Control
A disadvantage to biocontrol is that it takes more intensive management and planning. Often it takes more time, requires more record keeping, more education, more training, and more patience. For this to become successful it requires more understanding of the biology of both the pests and the enemies. Numerous natural enemies are susceptible to pesticides, and using all possible control methods in an integrated pest management (IPM) program takes a lot of care. Sometimes biocontrol can be more costly than pesticides. The results are not as rapid as the results that you would get from a pesticide. We stress the idea if IPM! Use every control method possible where they best fit!! (1,2)
(2) Orr, David & James Baker, Biological Control: Purchasing
Natural Enemies, [Web Site] http://ipmwww.ncsu.edu/biocontrol/3ahtm,
Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University, 1997.