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Is Biological control an effective way of Controlling pests?

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Introduction

Is Biological control an effective way of Controlling pests? A farmer's number one concern is the well being of his crops in order for them to grow efficiently and then enable him to sell them on to make money and a living for him/her and their family. A very large obstacle that is in the way of this is Pests. "Insects reduce the amount of crop harvested or damage the crop - making it unfit for use /consumption" (Revise AS Biology). These pests can affect the crop directly by feeding off them and damaging parts of the crops or indirectly by reducing the photosynthetic tissues like in the leaves so the plant has less energy to put in. There are several methods of controlling pests; one of these is Biological Control. "Biological control is a component of an integrated pest management strategy. It is defined as the reduction of pest populations by natural enemies and typically involves an active human role."(Hoffmann M.P. ...read more.

Middle

"A high reproductive rate is important so that populations of the natural enemy can rapidly increase when hosts are available." (Hoffmann M.P. & Frodsham A.C.). This quote shows us that there is a major disadvantage to biological control. When using a natural enemy it is vital that they have a good reproductive rate. If they do not then they could disperse of all the pests and then die out because of the lack of food in the area after the death of the pests. In turn this could lead to the re-appearance of the pests and no natural enemy to fight them again causing more damage again to the crops and more money needed to spent by the farmer to get more natural enemies into the environment. "Natural predators of pests can be killed/reduced in numbers, leading to increases in pest population" (Revise AS Biology). The cause of this usually comes from the fact that the natural enemies have killed off the pests and moved onto other parts and began feeding on natural predators of other pests which will again increase the pest population. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Unfortunately, classical biological control does not always work. It is usually most effective against exotic pests and less so against native insect pests. The reasons for failure are often not known, but may include the release of too few individuals, poor adaptation of the natural enemy to environmental conditions at the release location, and lack of synchrony between the life cycle of the natural enemy and host pest." (Hoffmann M.P. & Frodsham A.C.). In my opinion I believe that Biological Control is a very effective way of controlling pests. It has less threat to the environment unlike chemical control, people are using natural enemies to get rid of pests, and biological control is a much more cost effective away of controlling the pests. If farmers take the following steps when introducing biological control I believe that it would become very successful and few disadvantages would arise. 1). Make sure they will provide benefit in controlling the target pest 2). Make sure they will not, themselves, become pests 3). Make sure they do not harbour their own natural enemies that might interfere with their effectiveness or that of other natural enemies. ...read more.

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