Natural Enemies and Controls

Natural enemies and environmental factors limit populations of insect and mite pests in natural ecosystems. When natural enemies are killed by human’s actions in any habitat or when pests are introduced to new habitats without their natural enemies, natural control often fails and results in pest outbreaks.

Biological control of pest species by predators, parasitoids, and pathogens has been a cornerstone of IPM since its inception. It has been difficult to utilize the full potential of biological control in tree fruit and other crops that receive periodic sprays of broad-spectrum pesticides and/or have high quality standards.

The biological control potential of the vast majority of beneficial arthropods is not realized unless they develop resistance to pesticides, no pesticides are used, or only pesticides that are selective and nontoxic to these arthropods are used.