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Biological Control

Biological Control

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Published by mdoll
Master gardener course
Master gardener course

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Published by: mdoll on Oct 22, 2009
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05/14/2012

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Biological Control
COMMON NATURAL ENEMIES
John L. Obermeyer and Robert J. O'Neil 
The use of natural enemies to suppress or prevent insect pest outbreaks is termed "biological control." Naturalenemies are called "beneficials" because they are helpful in controlling insect pests. Proper identification andunderstanding of natural enemies, as well as the insect pests attacked by these beneficials, is the first step inimplementing biological control. Biological control can be used in combination with other control measures, suchas mechanical (e.g., removing insect pests) or cultural (e.g., crop rotation) control, resistant crop varieties, andthe judicious use of insecticides. Natural enemies can be classified into three major groups.
Predators
attack, kill, and eatmultiple numbers of prey. Predatorsmay feed on a wide variety of pests,or they may be more specific,feeding on one or a few pestspecies.
Parasites
lay an egg in or on a host,which then hatches and develops atthe expense of the host. Most often thehost is eventually killed as thedeveloping parasite consumes thehost’s organs or body-fluids.
Pathogens
are free-livingmicroscopic organisms (bacteria,fungi, viruses, etc.) that invade thehost’s body and cause disease.The diseased host is greatlyweakened and often killed.
A ladybird beetle devouring an aphidis a familiar sight to most homegardeners.
The three groups of natural enemies are further explained and illustrated on the following pages.
Only the keen observer would seethis minute parasitic wasp lay anegg on the larva of a pest species.An unseen, invading pathogenhas diseased and killed thiscaterpillar.
MaxE.BadgleyMaxE.BadgleyG.R.Carner
Department of Entomology 
E-92-W
 
P
REDATORS
This spinedsoldier bugpierces its preywith "straw-like" mouth-parts.The aphid lion isthe immaturelarva of the fraillookinglacewing. Itgrasps prey withsickle-likemandibles.
J.R.Ruberson
Gardenspiders cancatch quitelarge prey withthe webs theyform betweenplants.This insidiousflower bug"sucks the life"out of a pest'segg.
Donald L.SchuderEdward S.RossRobertN.Wiedenmann
Crab spiderswait motionlesson plants tocaptureunsuspectingprey like this fly.
MaxE.Badgley
A prayingmantid findsthis capturedplant bug quitea delectablefeast.
MaxE.Badgley
Insect predators fall into one of two groupsdepending on their mouthparts. Most species have“chewing mouthparts." These predators typically eatmost of their prey. Other predators have “piercing-sucking” mouthparts, to suck the prey’s body-fluids.Insects at all life-stages can be attacked by one ormore predatory species.A major group of non-insect predators are thespiders (8-legged arthropods). Spiders arepredacious throughout their lives. Spider huntingtechniques vary widely, from web spinning speciesto active hunters. Most spiders are “shy." Becausesome species can inflict a painful bite, they are bestleft alone to do their "job."
 
P
ATHOGENS
When these flyeggs hatch, thelarvae will cuttheir way intothe body of thisarmyworm tofeed anddevelop."Fuzzy balls" onthis dyinghornworm arepupae of thetiny parasiticwasp seenemerging.
J
ohn L.Obermeyer
Fungal sporesinvaded andkilled this cornborer, even inthe confines of acorn stalk.
JohnL.Obermeyer
John L.Obermeyer
This liquefiedcabbage wormis typical of abacteria or virusinfected larva.
John L.Obermeyer
Insects at all life-stages can be attacked by one ormore parasite species.Pathogens gain entry into the insect’s body throughtwo main routes: directly through the insect’s “skin”or orally when the insect eats contaminated plantparts. Fungi invade through the “skin” from a sporethat lands on the host’s body. Eventually, the hostbecomes filled with a growing mass of “hyphae” thatturn the host “fuzzy” and rigid.Bacteria and viruses enter through the host’sdigestive system after the host has eatencontaminated plant material. Once inside the hostbody, these pathogens rapidly multiply, and eventuallyliquify the host’s internal organs. Due to theirmicroscopic size, pathogens are most often notedfor the disease they cause, and the changes in theinsect’s body after infection.Insects at all life-stages can have one or moreassociated diseases.There are two common types of insect parasites;stingless wasps and certain flies. The wasps aresmall (most less than 1/4-inch), usually black or redinsects, that do not sting people (indeed they can'tbecause they have no stinger). Parasitic flies oftenresemble the common house fly. Like the parasiticwasps, these flies are harmless to people, becausethey attack only their host. While you may notice theoccasional adult parasite, you may more frequentlyencounter the parasitized hosts, as they are oftenmisshapen and may have undergone noticeablecolor changes. Sometimes, you will find hosts with“eggs” attached to them, which may indeed be eggsor the pupal cases of the emerging parasites.
P
ARASITES

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