Biological Pest Control - Benefits & Examples

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Pests in the garden and houseplants are more than just a nuisance. Often the insects succeed in inhibiting the growth of the host plant and make them susceptible to other pathogens. And home remedies are not always successful. Biological pest control is by no means an invention of the laboratory. Environmentally friendly, this measure is based on the model of nature, specifically targeted organisms are applied, which have the damaged insects more or less like to eat.
The modern way of pest control
In the biological control of pests, other animals or viruses are used specifically against defective insects. The population of these pests should be decimated or even completely eliminated. The application itself can vary and is almost always dependent on the type of unwanted insects. The following options are known in biological pest control:
This method of pest control is hardly common among amateur gardeners. This is because targeted viruses are applied, which can damage the metabolism of defective insects and even lead to degeneration of subsequent generations. This method is successfully used, for example, on damaged butterfly caterpillars. Against these the bacterium "Bacillus thuringiensis" is used successfully.
In this case, organisms develop in another creature, which ultimately leads to the death of the host animal. A classic example of parasitoids are, for example, parasitic wasps and nematodes. These infest the host in the most different stages of development and lay there the eggs.
Pests are almost always on the diet of other insects. The predators are targeted in the immediate vicinity settled in order to contain the infestation or to weaken massive. Thanks to new scientific achievements, a biotechnological process has become part of biological pest control. Although rather uninteresting for hobby gardeners, this pest control is increasingly gaining in importance among breeders and farmers. Known measures for this are, for example, genetically modified plants which form a natural resistance or even immunity to a particular insect species.
Positive side effect of the treatment
The application of biological pest control has numerous advantages. Thus, the time required is extremely limited, even the continuous application of effective agents, such as nettle brew or garlic deleted. Unlike chemical products from specialist retailers, the pests can not develop any natural resistance to parasitic wasps and ladybugs. With this near-natural gardening you promote the natural balance, without directly eliminating an insect species completely. Individual copies of aphid and Co. still have the opportunity to get out of harm's way. Other positive aspects:

  • The effort is less than with the use of home remedies.
  • The costs between chemical and biological control are about the same.
  • No health risks for humans and pets.
Like chemistry, however, biological countermeasures should not be used without careful planning. If used incorrectly, the regional biotope could be harmed by the use of foreign organisms. Even with this type of pest control applies: less is more. Best example: You do not need an armada of 500 ladybugs to liberate a single plant from aphids.
Uses of parasitoids
The field of application of biological pest control is broad. And even those who do not have their own garden, must by no means forgo the help of useful insects. Because some of the beneficial organisms can easily be used on infested rooms and balcony plants. In most cases, the population of parasitic or predatory insects declines automatically as soon as the population of the pests is visibly decimated. The application of beneficial organisms is harmless to humans. Many wasps live parasitically. Obesity and slipper have specialized in laying their eggs in other insects. The host body serves the offspring not only as a breeding ground, but also directly after hatching as a rich source of food. In the apartment parasitic wasps can be used against clothes moths, bread beetles and food moths. Trichogramma evanescens, a parasitic wasp species hardly recognizable to the naked eye, has specialized in moth eggs. The wasps pick up the eggs of the clothes moth and inject their own eggs into it.The insects that are completely harmless to humans die as soon as they can no longer find moth eggs. The treatment period is approximately 6 weeks. The procedure against clothes and food moths is simple:
  • Remove infested food.
  • Ventilate clothes and wash as needed.
  • Thoroughly clean cabinets.
  • Clean up and place cards with parasitic wasp eggs in the interstices.
  • Check regularly for new pests.
  • Replace eggs and clean again after 8 weeks.
The parasitoids have also proven themselves in the fight against shield and lice. Particularly the chickens protected by a hard chitin armor develop fast resistance to insecticides, the control with home remedies is also laborious and tedious. While the population of scale insects is slowly but steadily decreasing, the number of useful insects is growing. At least as long as host animals can be found for oviposition.
Effective control measures
Probably the most common way to kill damaged insects is the use of predatory living creatures. Especially ladybirds have proven themselves. Already children recognize the small beetles with the striking coloring. But more important than the number of black dots on the pale yellow to dark red colored insect is the almost insatiable hunger of his little contemporaries. Already in the larval stage, the ladybird kills up to 450 aphids, adult beetles bring it in the course of their life to well over 5000 copies. Unlike parasitic wasps, ladybugs are assigned to the category "predators". The example of the useful beetles shows, however, that biological pest control should not be used without consideration. After all, the "Asian ladybug", which was only used a few years ago, has become a real plague and is displacing native species. The common lacewing, often referred to as "gold eye", is also a not to be underestimated ally in the control of pests. Due to their enormous hunger, the larvae of the webbed nymphs carry the epithet "aphid lions". Careless aphids are also on the menu of larvae such as thrips and spider mites. Between 100 and 150 pests per day, the greedy offspring of lacewings can eat out. As with all other beneficials, you can buy the eggs of the flies in specialized shops. Put them near the pests, everything else settles almost by itself.
Tip: Before predatory insects are used, you should first remove an existing ants population. Because they are otherwise able to successfully defend "their" lice against other beetles and flies.
The usefulness of predatory mites should also not be forgotten. Because some species of the arachnids belonging to insects are used specifically for controlling pests. Particularly suitable for crops, which are cultivated in the conservatory or greenhouse. With Typhlodromus pyri you can successfully fight, for example, the following defective insects:
  • Scale insects
  • thrips
  • spider mites
  • Kr├Ąuselmilben
  • pox mites
  • springtails
Not everyone likes predatory mites, bugs or even the larvae of lacewings and ladybugs on their own balcony and house plants. However, nematodes have also proven themselves against thrips and weevils. The nematodes penetrate into the body of the host animals and eat them from the inside out. Nematodes themselves are only visible under the microscope. In this way you can, for example, quickly free pests such as tomatoes and courgettes from pests in the summer. The nematodes are either added directly to the substrate via the irrigation water or you receive "contact traps", whereupon the damaged insects become infected with the roundworms.
With the biological control against pests every gardener can make an important contribution to a healthy environment. In particular, the use of parasitic or predatory living insects is simple and leaves no chemical residues on useful and ornamental plants. In case of heavy infestation, it is worthwhile to buy the eggs from Marienk├Ąfer and Co. directly from specialist retailers. Another advantage of the treatment: Against biological methods pests can develop no resistance.

Video Board: The Advantages of Biological Pest Control.

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