Biological Pest Control – Is it the Answer to Pest Control-Related Environmental Concerns?

Before we can try to understand if biological pest control is the answer to the environmental problems related to pest control, it would be advisable to provide us with some basic information on all this pest control activity; for the benefit of those who may meet him for the first time.

Now, parasites are organisms (typically insects) that are harmful to the interests of people who refer to them as such. So for farmers, insects that invade and eat their crops (both in the fields and during storage), would be termed pests. On the other hand, “domestic bugs” that tend to ruin things in domestic environments (such as moths, which can ruin clothes in storage), are seen as pests by housekeepers. It is worth keeping in mind that although most pests are insects, there are also many that are not insects: rodents (which can spoil crops on farms of things stored in domestic environments) are also seen as pests, despite the fact that they are not insects.

Having seen that parasites are harmful, it would be natural for people who “fall victim” to them to want to get rid of them. Meanwhile, people who have not yet fallen victim to parasites would like to avoid such a “fate”. Hosting pests, by the way, can be a serious fate – thousands of acres of farmland are known to be wasted by pests in a single day, leading to losses that often amount to millions of dollars. It is the measures taken to avoid pest invasion, or to resolve pest invasion if it has already occurred, which are referred to as pest control.

Pest control now takes various forms, depending on the parasites you are trying to eliminate (or prevent invasion of). And while larger pests like rodents can be controlled through mechanical means like trapping, over a long period of time it is chemical control that has worked for the vast majority of pests, which tend to be insects as previously mentioned. The chemicals used in this endeavor are what are referred to as pesticides. And while pesticides are usually very effective at pest control, their drawback tends to arise when we consider the fact that they tend to be extremely hostile to the environment. It is worth bearing in mind at this point that chemicals called pesticides tend to be very potent. So it often happens that the traces remain where they were used, even after the parasites have disappeared. Those traces are eventually carried into the water bodies where they devastate the plants and animals (non-pests) residing in the water bodies.

It is the concern about this environmental impact of chemical pest control that has led to the question of whether a more environmentally friendly method of pest control could be developed. The end result has been the exploration of alternatives such as biological pest control, which we are looking to see if it really is the answer to the concerns raised about (chemical-based) pest control.

In biological pest control, it is other organisms known to be predators than those seen as parasites that are unleashed on said parasites; eating them and thus solving the pest problem. So if the pesky pests are aphids, the other organisms that are known to feed on aphids are introduced to the problem field, to feed on the aphids, rather than spraying an environmentally harmful

The problem with biological pest control, however, is that it tends to be of questionable efficiency. While chemical pest control tends to be thorough, leaving no pests or even traces of them, in biological pest control, this cannot be entirely guaranteed. Implementing biological pest control on a large scale (for example on a thousand hectare plantation) can also prove to be a herculean task. Ultimately, it’s considerations like these that drive us to keep thinking about more environmentally friendly pest control approaches. This is because biological pest control, while certainly an approach that addresses the environmental concerns raised about chemical pest control, does not appear to be efficient (or scalable) enough, in most people’s view.