The Importance of Auxiliary Fauna and Biological Control

To maintain a sustainable crop and to comply with the laws on biological control and pesticides and the European Commission’s draft Regulation on the Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products, farmers are increasingly using the help of auxiliary fauna. However, the use of pesticides will continue to be useful as their total elimination from crops is not feasible in the short term.

Insects and bacteria to reduce the use of pesticides

With the term Auxiliary fauna, we refer to all those insects that are beneficial for crops and pest control. Within these species, we can identify 3 main types that help biological control in crops:

● Parasitoids: those insects that enter and develop inside another during their larval stage. They need a host to feed them.

● Predators: those insects that eat the pest. They can feed on one type of pest, and are called “monophagous”, or on several species, and are called “polyphagous”.

● Entomopathogenic: these are parasitic micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi that kill the host insect.

As we all know, there are many different types of crops and soils in the world and, in order to meet the needs of future generations and maintain a healthy food supply, biological control is key to this issue.

The 3 types of biological control

Farmers can increase the efficiency of their crop by choosing the most appropriate technique in the use of auxiliary fauna on a case-by-case basis. Thanks to the advances made in this field and in the application and control of these typologies, more and more professionals in the agricultural sector are opting for more sustainable agriculture.
Let’s see what types of biological control we can find:

● Biological Control by Conservation: in this case, the existence of natural enemies against pests is increased in a natural way by modifying the environment of the crop. For example, planters can be created, or different flowers such as sunflowers can be planted on the outer and inner perimeters of the farms, depending on the need.

● Classical biological control: In this case, an exotic insect or bacterial species is usually introduced to control the damage caused by the pest.

● Augmentative biological control: in this case, more insects are purchased to increase the number of natural enemies of the pest we want to combat.

a ladybug on a pest plant

In conclusion, despite advances in biological control solutions, not all plant pathological problems can be solved by this technique. For this reason, it is very important to find a sustainable balance between the use of pesticides and auxiliary fauna. This is the focal point of innovation at the moment.

If you are interested in this topic and want to know more about Biological Control, don’t miss our Masters in International Agribusiness Management Online where you will have a 360º vision of the Agro world.

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