Submitted to: Pest Management Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 20, 2003
Publication Date: June 20, 2003
Citation: Hopper, K.R. USDA-ARS research on biological control of arthropods. Pest Management Science 59:643-653 Technical Abstract: During 1999-2001, ARS scientists published over 100 papers on biocontrol of 30 insect pests. These papers address issues crucial to the three strategies of biological control: conservation, augmentation, and introduction. ARS scientists have been very active in determining the effects of pesticides on beneficial arthropods and in studying movement of natural enemies from refuges into crops. ARS scientists have studied augmentative biological control of a variety of pest insects. The targets are mostly pests in annual crops or other ephemeral habitats, where self-reproducing populations of natural enemies are not sufficiently abundant early enough to keep pest populations in check. ARS research in augmentative biological control centers on methods for rearing large numbers of healthy, effective natural enemies and for releasing them where and when they are needed at a cost less than the value of the reduction in damage to the crop. ARS scientists have researched various aspects of introductions of exotic biological control agents against a diversity of pest insects. The major issues in biological control introductions are accurate identification and adequate systematics of both natural enemies and target pests, exploration for natural enemies, predicting the success of candidates for introduction and the likelihood of non-target impacts, quarantine and rearing methods, and post-introduction evaluation of establishment, control, and non-target impacts. ARS scientists have published research on several general issues in biological control. Among the most important are the mechanisms affecting mate and host finding and host specificity.