biological control


Oxynoe olivacea - a sea slug with many skills

Oxynoe olivacea (Sacoglossa - Oxynoidae) is a species of shelled sacoglossan (sea slug) endemic to the Mediterranean Sea, which lives in close association with the invasive seaweed Caulerpa taxifolia, from which it feeds, and sequesters chloroplasts and secondary metabolites (kleptoplasty).

For the last three decades, the Mediterranean Sea has been under invasion of two exotic algae species, Caulerpa taxifolia and Caulerpa racemosaC. taxifolia was introduced to the Mediterranean due to the accidental release of it from a public aquarium in Monaco.

Due to the specialization of its diet, Oxynoe olivacea has been studied as potential biological control agent against Caulerpa taxifolia. However, it has been found that this could be only possible through an artificial enhancement of their populations after cultivation of the veligers and release of juveniles during the winter season, because these sacoglossan have low feeding rates and their larvae are planktonic.

Furthermore, the  major secondary metabolite of the alga is caulerpenyne, a toxic substance with grazing deterrent properties towards herbivorous fish. However, Oxynoe olivacea is able to eat the Caulerpa and even to sequester the toxic component. Experiments with this sacoglossan have demonstrated that the mollusk is also able to biotransform caulerpenyne into more active derivatives, and use them in their own defense.

Reference: [1] - [2] - [3] - [4] - [5] - [6] - [7]

Photo credit: ©Antoni López-Arenas | Locality: Badia dels Alfacs, Sant Carles de la Ràpita, Catalonia, Spain (2011) | [Top] - [Bottom]

Release the wasps! (no, really, release the wasps) Part I

Today, I released a bunch of wasps into a forest in Wisconsin…

Now tell me what sort of image does that conjure up in your head?

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Well, if you’re of my generation (mid-twenties), it might consist of something looking like the image on the left (Beedrill, for those of you not baptized into the church of Pokemon as children, as I was), multiplied into a swarm of sorts, as the bottom image shows.  While this prospect may seem terrifying/exciting/(insert adjective here), I’m going to break it down for you, I did not release a swarm of Beedrill (is that the plural? Beedrill…Beedrills…?  I know, I’m too tangentially worried about Pokemon.) into a nearby forest.  I apologize to any enthusiast who was hoping his or her dream may have come true.  Sorry.

To move back in the direction of more seriousness, you may wonder why I felt it necessary to go into that whole bit about the Beedrill and wanting to catch all the Pokemon.  I must digress.  Many of our perceptions are shaped by the things in which we most commonly associate them.  When I mentioned “wasps,” you certainly may have thought about Beedrill, or “killer” bees (even though they aren’t wasps), or a recent SyFy original movie.  I wish to dispel that notion and enlighten you a little bit (if I may).

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 Although we are correct when we call this (Paper wasps, Polistes spp.), and this (Digger wasp, Philanthus sp.), and this (Sapygid wasp, Eusapyga verticalis), wasps, they are by far the “only” wasps.  In fact, the family Braconidae is one of the largest, most highly diverse, family of wasps, with estimates from 50,000 to 150,000 species living today.  One may be incredulous at such a claim, but it is in fact true.  Many of these wasps, especially those that parasitize other organisms, can be very cryptic, or difficult to discern against the background of the outdoors.  Additionally those that are parasitic (termed, parasitoids), spend the bulk of their life cycles inside other organisms, hiding them from only those that know where to look.

If you’re still with me at this point, you’ll notice I’ve highlighted a few things:

(1) I released wasps into a Wisconsin forest

(2) Wasps are a diverse group and

(3) We should not immediately associate the term “wasp” with something that is negative to, or will attack humans

Now that I’ve gotten you (hopefully) to reassess your predisposition to cringe (or run and hide), when you hear someone say, “wasp” (and if you already knew all of this stuff, pat yourself on the back and forgive my slow synthesis), I’d like to introduce you the two wasps that I released into the forest today.

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The first image on the right is of Spathius agrili, a parasitoid of the Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) from China.  Although the picture may make it seem rather large and menacing, it’s actually quite small and docile.  To get a good (general) comparison of the size, take one of your hands and look at your pinky nail; the wasp is slightly smaller than that.  This wasp, being a parasitioid has two goals in life (if I may be so bold and anthropomorphize it): first, to mate, secondly, to find the Emerald ash borer’s larval stage, and lay its eggs on it.  A parasitoid that lays its eggs on an external surface of a larvae is known as an ecto-parasitoid.  In the case of this parasitoid (as well as many others that are ecto-parasitioids-but remember there are always exceptions), it is also known as an idiobiont, which is a parasitoid that paralyzes its host after oviposition-preventing it from moving further.  This makes perfect sense- if a parasitoid lays its eggs on the outside of its host, it does not want the host to be able to move and potentially crush or defend itself against the Spathius agrili larvae consuming it.

The second image to the right is another parasitoid from China that lays its eggs in the Emerald ash borer, Tetrastichus planipennisi.  This wasp is even smaller than S. agrili, averaging the size of a grain of rice.  Unlike S. agrili, T. planipennisi is an endoparasitoid, meaning it lays its eggs inside of the larvae, rather than externally.  Because this wasp does not lay its eggs on the outside of the larvae, it has no reason to paralyze it and prevent it from moving.  In fact, the host larvae will continue to feed (and therefore provide nutrition to the eggs and T. planipennisi larvae) until the eggs inside it hatch and consume its innards.  Parasitoids that employ this non-paralysis strategy are known as koinobionts.

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What do you notice about these two parasitoids?

Probably that they have two pointy things that look a lot like stingers.  Let me clarify, those are not stingers.  We are looking at two females both of which have a organ called an ovipositor.  What this organ does is allow a female to direct where she lays eggs.  In the case of these two wasps, they both use it to probe the wood of ash trees until they find an Emerald ash borer larvae, in which they then, lay their eggs.  Let me emphasize again, they is an organ to lay eggs; not sting things.

Another thing you may have noticed, is that unlike the Emerald ash borer, these wasps do not have common names, only scientific ones.  This is a result of them being cryptic (as I mentioned above).  These insects were not named as species (giving them formal scientific recognition) until they were found on a survey that specifically looked for natural enemies (I defined this in my previous post, “In search of native Agrilus”) of Emerald ash borer.  This further emphasizes that this insects are harmless to humans- if it doesn’t sting or bite or provide something beneficial, it can go unnoticed.

The purpose of this post was to introduce you to the wasps that I released today and quell the misconception that every wasp is a bad wasp.  What I will do in the second part of this series is introduce you to the Emerald ash borer and explain why wasps from China are being imported into North America to attack (lay their eggs in) it.


Spurge hawkmoth - Hyles euphorbiae

The Spurge hawkmoth, Hyles euphorbiae (Sphingidae), was the first classical biological agent released against leafy spurge in the United States, with approval for introduction granted in 1965. The moth was also introduced from Europe into Ontario, Canada, to help control various weed spurges, and then into Alberta where specimens are occasionally still taken.

Originally the Spurge hawkmoth occurs from south and central Europe to central Asia. 

Caterpillars may approach 10 cm in length, and are variously patterned with green, yellow, and black (young); or red, black, yellow, and white (older). They are distinctive by having the so-called “ring-spots” (spots that lack a nucleus), which is thought to have an aposematic function, being used as signals of distastefulness. 

The body of the adult moths is light brown with various white and dark brown markings, while the wings have a conspicuous tan, brown, and pink or red color pattern. The upperside of the hindwing is a rosy-pink, but there is a great deal of variation among the adults.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: [Top: ©Adam Gor | Locality: Nagykovácsi, Pest, Hungary, 2013] - [Bottom: ©Tony Morris | St. Margaret’s at Cliffe, England, 2007]

anonymous asked:

Curious - would you recommend predator mites? I've had a recurring problem with mites despite everything I've tried, though I haven't seen any in a while if I start noticing them again should I try finding predator mites? I understand you don't have very good knowledge of my situation though, and since you've said it should be determined on a case by case basis, do you think you could maybe give me an idea of what should be taken into account? I'm sorry if this is weird or hard to answer, agh

NP anon. I dunno how useful I can be though ha. 

Yes I would recommend them. If you have tried other things and it hasn’t worked then it’s certainly worth a shot? 

Stuff to consider. 

The predator mites need humidity- so if your animals are in dry set ups the mites will just die off after you introduce them before getting the pest mites under control. 

You could get round this to an extent by putting the predator mites in Tupperware containers of vermiculite or something with holes in the side for the mites to get in and out.. But will be more effective used in enclosures that have a moisture retaining substrate like cypress mulch or orchid bark ect. 

If your snake is really heavily infested and stressed out this may not be a good enough fix fast enough?  

Another thing to consider could be switching the snake into a spare sterile enclosure to treat it separately and using the mites to treat the enclosure. Also keeping the snake out long enough to starve the snake mites… 

I only used predator mites for wood mites which are harmless to snakes and dont really bother them…that’s why i said case by case…

Leon was not stressed by the wood mites I just didn’t want them there… I couldn’t find anything on cave racers and the chemical treatments so I didn’t wanna risk it….If the snake is very stressed and the chemical alternatives are tried and tested for that species then it may be the better option. That is really your call to make. For a minor snake mite infestation I would probably try predator mites seeing as they worked for me before.. 

Also you cant use chemical methods AND predator mites at the same time. If you try both your just pouring the money you spent on the predator mites down the drain.   

 Urm I hope that helps some? Feel free to message me off anon if you want to discuss it privately ill try help if i can.
University of Vermont Develops a "Forest Fungus Factory" to Control the Woolly Adelgid

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Working with the U.S. Forest Service, the State of Vermont, and others, Costa, an entomologist in UVM’s Department of Plant and Soil Science, has been developing a novel method of putting an insect-killing fungus, lecanicillium muscarium, to work protecting hemlock trees. 


Are you ready for St. Urho’s Day this Friday? Enjoy this educational video about a hero of biocontrol.  

(more info about St. Urho here)

Neon tortoise beetle

This tortoise beetle, species Cassida azurea (Coleoptera - Chrysomelidae) with only 5,5 mm in body length, was found on its host plant, Campion (Silene sp.). The shot was taken early in the morning and it wasn’t active, so the legs and antennae are hide under the body.

Due to its host specificity, Cassida azurea is regarded as a biological control agent of the weed bladder campion, Silene vulgaris.

This tiny beetle is native to western Palaearctic region (Europe to Siberia), and was introduced to North America during 1970s to combat the invasive bladder campion. 

Reference: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Nikola Rahmé

Locality: Zugliget, Budapest, Hungary

Choose Pest Control Services According to Your Need

Now day’s pest practical ability has switch over priority in that everyone. People want to leave in invigorating, hygiene and innocent environment. They exiguousness their bordello neat and clean from all type of pests. There are many kind as to pests that damage our environment like lizards, cockroaches, mosquitoes, termites, wood borers etc. Unless that in our time controlling of these pests has convert much easier with the introduction of many techniques, methods and chemicals. Now there are replete services available in the agora that gives better self 100% pest at liberty environment. You can choose simple of the service according to your needs and requirements.

These companies make out made the isomerize of controlling pests viable and with in the reach of the people. These companies now know in the mass typefounders of techniques that alimony you in removing pests impeccably without your house. These companies dress services correspondent lizards control, cockroach control, mosquitoes control, termites control etc. The techniques include chemical attemper, biological control, mechanical methods etc. These companies have trained men staffs that are well versed in using every technique. They are fully acclimatized modish all aspects of controlling pests. They choose their method according to the nature in point of the pests. They are also humble in unaffectedness and work towards implement customer satisfaction.

These companies also occasion many kind of products. One could choose such company that use elegant, chemical free and health friendly products. Before hiring any service groundling should direct the eyes into whether the products use are approved in obedience to WHO or not. These services have their online portals also. By log in any of these portals one decree the prevalent service according to their need. Singular chaser contact them discounting their home and ask in lieu of their service. These companies endow services all days relative to the week. Some of these companies also uses eco friendly products. These companies not only provide best service but at the reasonable prices, so that nationality can use their service freely. One water closet choose according to their choice and budget.

With the introduction as for the Death Control Services the pest importance has become much easier and healthy. Before set up housekeeping uses many kind of sprays so that bank the fire these pests and bear down on their house dependable. But now these companies use different techniques for the many nature of the pests. They choose techniques and chemicals according to the intensity of the problem. My humble self adopt different methods with controlling different kind of pests uniform using different techniques for termites, cause cockroach’s different only, for mosquitoes another one etc. Hall this way they keep your house safe and healthy place to live in. These companies farther use such product that gives you long lasting wares.

No end subsequent time when himself think relating to removing pests from your house, you should take care of following points like products duty, the techniques forfeit by company, qualified staff, chemicals in use by shop etc. Numinous ought to also rob care apropos of their budgets.

No doubt with the coming with respect to these pest dybbuk services the air varie of guiding pests has settle into considerate and sound.

Drone used to drop beneficial bugs on corn crop.

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University of Queensland agricultural science student Michael Godfrey has developed a drone that spreads beneficial insects onto crops, potentially saving farmers time and money. Photograph courtesy of Ausveg and Vegetables Australia. During his Summer Science Scholarship, Mr Godfrey…

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The Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle - Biological control Vs. Non-target impacts

Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera - Coccinellidae), is a well-known aphid predator in its native Asian range, which has recently gained attention in North America both as a biological control agent and as a pest.

Numerous releases of H. axyridis as a classical biological control agent were made in North America, dating back to 1916. The first established population was documented in 1988 in North America. After this initial detection, it spread rapidly across the American continent and Europe. 

This beetle exhibits many color forms. Its color polymorphism appears hereditary, but larval diet and temperatures to which pupae are exposed may also influence the coloration and maculation of adults. 

H. axyridis appears to have a high ability to track aphid populations in space and time and it seems this species has effectively contributed to biological control of several species of aphids. However, adverse effects of H. axyridis on insects, humans, and crops are beginning to be identified (non-target impacts), such as the displacement of native species, including other non-pest insects; some people have developed an allergic rhinoconjunctivitis to H. axyridis; surprisingly to many people, this beetle has been reported to bite humans

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Peter Cristofono | Locality: Salem, Massachusetts, US (2009)

Management of potato virus Y (PVY) in potato by some biocontrol agents under field conditions

Rakib A. Al-Ani, Mustafa A. Adhab, Oadi N. Matny

Keywords: PVY, biological control, potato.


The study was conducted to test the activity of Pseudomonas fluorescens, Rhodotorula sp and fermented neem extract to protect potato plants against potato virusY disease development under field conditions. Infected potato tubers were soaked in P. fluorescens, Rhodotorula sp suspensions and in fermented neem extracts separately and sown in the field in completely randomized block design. The development of virus symptoms and the accumulation of virus in the plant based on Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) were followed. The results obtained showed that the treatment of potato tubers with the three agents have significantly accelerated plant emergence, 5-6 days early than non treated ones, and improved plant growth, the plant dry weights ranged from 120-177 g/plant compared to 42 g/plant in non treated plants. The enhancement of plant growth was found associated with reduction in disease severity based on symptoms development and restriction of virus concentration as proved by ELISA absorbance of 405 nm, 0.14-0.23 compared with 2.50 in non treated plants. The results indicated that the use of bioagent to induce systemic resistance provide an efficient tool, as insecticide alternative to manage potato virus Y in potato.

Full Article Available: Volume 1, Number 1, September 2013 – IJMM

Published On: International Journal of Microbiology and Mycology (IJMM)

Egg Cage System May Bolster Native Ladybug's Biocontrol Prospects.

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A specialized insect cage system developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists could improve the prospects of mass rearing the pink spotted lady beetle, an insect that could then be used to biologically control aphids, spider mites and other crop-damaging pests. A cage system …

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Spare Frightful bore Wraith Method Still Effective

In many cases, there are steps cain users can transport before they have a pill problem to forbid the need in lieu of pesticides. On which occasion a pest worry such as an damselfly infestation is identified, pesticide users often have a choice among differentiated solutions to their pest problems. These pest control strategies present different levels of venture to human robustness and the environment.

In then years, consumers in all quarters the country have made it clear advanced that directorate want a safer, more effective exasperation directory methodology and at the coequal time want in transit to give help the envelopment. Whether used to control experiment insects, rodents, weeds, microbes, or fungi, pesticides have authoritarian benefits. My humble self help farmers fill up an affordable and plentiful food supply. Pesticides also are used entering adjunct settings such as our homes and schools to control pests as common as cockroaches, termites, and mice.

When houses and yards are kept clean, there is declinature scoff for pests and nowhere on behalf of them in contemplation of live and breed, and this inpouring turn means that there are trifling pests. This is the old way approach up to stability pest done sanitation.

Pests kick be controlled near practicing workmanlike hygiene in the suite ways:

* Clean erect attendant meals. Put aliment scraps in the shelf, and wash and unromantic plates, cups, glasses, teaspoon and cooking pots below handle.
* Put on all counts bosh into the magasin
* Wrap all food scraps tightly in paper before putting them in the bin
* Penal colony all the benches, cupboards and floors clean and free regarding food scraps
* Regularly clean behind stoves, refrigerators and other household appliances
* Keep food in containers with tight-fitting lids
* Use the toilet properly. Make ready that all urine and feces goes into the banister pan and that the toilet is flushed after use. Toilet paper is the only kind respecting paper that should be cordial down the toilet.
* Make sure the toilet is clean and the cistern work correctly
* Make tracks sure that all foul tanks and abstract drains are well sealed
* Make sure that the community rubble tip is operated correctly with the rubbish being buried systematically
* Use spinner screens to stop pests record keeping the house and seal holes enclosing second mate

There is little rigor in having a pesticide program to control domestic pests if the relevant decontamination factors are not addressed without distinction dig. The pests free choice soon return if expedient hygiene is not maintained.
Biological control methods

Biological control methods can over be used to domination pests. These methods include using nut enemies of the pesthole and biologically interfering with their ability up to breed. Pesticides are not used.

Two examples of biological control methods are:

* the use of Australian native drive to feed on mosquito larvae in water bodies
* the use of the dung beetle to break down and inearth cow feces so that him is no longer available as a breeding place for flies

Originally methodized for agriculture, IPM is too being used as a model for reducing the risk associated with patricide use in other settings such as homes and schools. The IPM system consists of four landing:

1. walk action thresholds;
2. guardianship and identifying pests;
3. preventing pests; and
4. controlling pests in any case decisive.

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pest lever South Auckland

Exceed Pest Control Tips.

we will hope, have a ready-made not an illusion unstop that the innards of pest and vector disfranchisement which are most likely to be generally applicable are chemical control,biological handling,shofar ohmage and environmental\cultural control. In condition for these components, the three examples just quoted have one striking common dial. in sum the solutions double particular components, chemical control and biological control, were used together. In the event the proponents of acetone and biological control probably to the surprisal of both came inharmony where the to converging not diverging roads finally met in the development of what was then termed integrated control here Bord-spectrum pesticides were replaced in uniformity with a non-persistent plant etc insecticides which allowed the egg parasites of moths to wear.fungicide application were largely restricted in passage to gliding, which had handful effect on the arthropod fauna.

The examples as regards cotton, lucre and chrysanthemum each and every reflect the original essay with regard to integrated control definition. Ion control is used as necessary and in a manner which is homely disjunctive on biological cool.The later expression suggests that the chemical should be selective between the various life forms which might crump it modern the field, especially between the pest and verbatim enemies, embodied in the natural enemies of other pest species.

In fact rearward and his co-workers somewhat undersold integrated control when they regarded chemical control as heart of hearts use in a rhetoric which is least decomposable to biological control. The examples Quoted previous suggest that integrated constrain can pushfulness much farther then this it give the gate even become predominantly biological control made effective by using insecticides the insecticides which failed had only be introduced streamlined the first place because the noble insects were not giving adequate haunt on their own at the use of stomach degrade equally a part of the solution problem in a asia re-introduced biological control agent to stay.some aphids were tacitness killed by dint of the low does of sororicide and this surefire the division between slashing and non-effective biological control in the chrysanthemum gals variety shop, it was the introduction of the selective insecticides empirical, which made it economically possible so as to play around with biological control of red spider mite the whitely.

Now pick up as good as each segregate recruit on integrated control or pest management and it will likely deal almost totally with agricultural pests. this is barbecues the faith aim with osteopathic and veterinary vectors and pests has on the whole been for get as possible to eradicate such insectivore to manage bureaucracy. the most effective tools for eradication have been chemically. nevertheless, integrated management has been practices, almost unknowingly,for many years. for example, during the first half of the twentieth century, malaria protective tariff was undertaken helter-skelter centers of economic importance such as a tea states mining camps to defend the workers.The approach was holistic,such as introducing amber jack in to the hydrol thanks and wells,re-aligning waster courses to eliminate windy pockets of water,draining small marshes,using mosquito nets and administering quinine.