New OSU Facility to Support Biological Control

The Department of Entomology at Ohio State University has just completed construction of a new quarantine facility that will support biological control throughout the region. In classical biological control, exotic natural enemies are introduced from foreign countries with the intent to release and permanently establish them for continuous pest control. Federal and state agencies, and biological control workers, wish to insure that in this process no new pests are accidentally introduced. Therefore, the USDA requires that all shipments of new natural enemy species be sent directly to highly secure quarantine facilities for processing. Shipping containers can only be opened in such facilities. Trained quarantine officers carefully scrutinize shipments to be sure there are no unwanted materials, such as weed seeds, plant diseases, or unwanted insects. The beneficial insects are then raised through several generations so that they can be carefully studied to determine that they will not themselves create problems once they are released in the field.

One of the impediments to biological control in the upper Midwest is that no such facilities have existed in recent years. No states have had quarantine facilities dedicated to biological control, and the only regional USDA facility, at Columbia, Missouri, has been inactive. Therefore, the OSU facility will be a great benefit to university, state, and federal scientists here in the Midwest. Now that the OSU facility will soon be operational, another challenge exists. That challenge is to find the funding to keep the facility operational and provide support for regional scientists to find, study, and ultimately introduce new beneficial natural enemies for pest management.

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