Submitted to: The Sunflower
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/20/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Integrated pest management (IPM) incorporates different control strategies to optimize pest control. Biological control is the intentional manipulation of beneficial organisms in order to limit pest populations. Biological control agents include predators, parasites, nematodes and, diseases. Natural enemies do not destroy or eradicate all insect pests. However, they may prevent the pest population from becoming too high. Biological control is one of the safest methods of pest management. Natural enemies are not polluting or as disruptive to the environment as synthetic insecticides and do not leave residues on food.The three broad approaches to biological control are importation, augmentation and conservation. Insects associated with sunflower have evolved with the plant for centuries and many have moved to the cultivated crop. Insects on sunflower include plant eating species, pollinators, and natural enemies. Although hundreds of insects have been recorded from sunflower, only a small number have achieved pest status. Indigenous natural enemies have been a significant factor in preventing many insects from becoming economic pests. With our limited knowledge about natural enemies of sunflower insects, the best biological control approach is to utilize farming practices that conserve and protect these beneficial organisms. There are many factors that can influence the success of beneficial organisms in reducing pest densities. Thus, in many situations, the biological control method will need to be utilized in concert with other tactics. This is consistent with the IPM approach to ensure that the least disruptive practices are used because they fit best into sustainable agriculture.