Biological Control
Thursday, 21 January 2010 12:39
Background
Biological control is a safe and sound approach to keep pests (insects, mites, and weeds) under control. It is an effective tool in programmes of integrated pest management. It uses their natural enemies, and reduces the risk of pesticides abuse and environmental chemical pollution.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community Biological Control Laboratory (SPC-BCL) facilitates and coordinates biological control programmes for managing pest problems of the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs). The advantage of using biological control is that it is a safe and effective method that is environmentally friendly. It diminishes the reliance on chemical pesticides, and is a target orientated, sustainable and inexpensive pest management strategy.
Activities involved in implementing biological control programme include:
  • identification and assessment of pests and weeds
  • selection and testing of appropriate biological control agents
  • importation and multiplication of selected agent(s)
  • dispatch and liberation of biological control agent(s)
  • monitoring and evaluation of their performance, and
  • provision of training and technical advice.
Protocols
SPC-BCL complies with protocols for biological control stipulated in Guidelines for Biological Control Projects in the Pacific (SPC document 57) and FAO Code of Conduct for the Import and Release of Exotic Biological Control.

Capacity
SPC-BCL, based in Suva, Fiji, has a capacity to produce biological control agents for the needs of the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs). It also coordinates the introduction and dissemination of biological control agents from internationally recognized institutions following the biological control protocols.

Pacific regional successes on biological control:
  • Lantana weed Lantana camara
  • Giant sensitive plant Mimosa invisa
  • Spiraling whitefly Aleurodicus dispersus
  • Coconut scale insects Aspidiotus destructor
  • Diamond back moth Plutella xylostella
Projects SPC-BCL has undertaken:
Biological Control Agents Target Pest
Nephaspis dispar Sicard
Coleoptera:Coccinellidae
Aleurodicus dispersusRussell
Hemiptera:Aleyrodidae
Encarsia haitiensisDozier
Hymenoptera:Aphelinidae
Aleurodicus dispersusRussell
Hemiptera:Aleyrodidae
Chilocorus nigritus(Fabricius)
Coleoptera:Coccinellidae
Aspidiotus destructorSignoret
Hemiptera:Diaspididae
Telsimia nitida Chapin
Coleoptera:Coccinellidae
Aspidiotus destructorSignoret
Hemiptera:Diaspididae
Cryptognatha nodicepsMarshall
Coleoptera:Coccinellidae
Aspidiotus destructorSignoret
Hemiptera:Diaspididae
Diadromus collaris(Gravenhorst)
Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae
Plutella xylostella(Linnaeus)
Lepidioptera: Yponomeutidae
Heteropsylla spinolusa
Hemiptera: Psyllidae
Mimosa invisa Martius
Mimosaceae
Diadegma semiclausum
Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae
Plutella xylostella(Linnaeus)
Lepidioptera: Yponomeutidae

How Plant Health assists with pest problems of PICTs:
The Plant Health Team:
  • encourages biological control as a first option to be considered for managing regional pests and as a basis for Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
  • provides technical advice
  • assesses the levels of pest damage on important crops and plants.
  • coordinates introduction of selected biological control agents against pest occurrences.
  • evaluates biological control agents for their specificity and impact.
  • advises that only safe and effective biological control agents are introduced for targeted pests.