News and Reviews

First Biological Control Extension Conference A Success; Second to be Held In Lincoln, Nebraska

Biological Control of Insects: A Conference on Beneficial Natural Enemies and Their Use in Pest Management, was held in October 1993 in Madison, Wisconsin. Approximately 150-160 people were in attendance including extension agents, crop consultants, state department of agriculture employees and producers (both traditional and organic). Conference attendees learned about the role of biological control in IPM systems and about the different techniques in biological control: Importation, Conservation and Augmentation of natural enemies. The industry which supplies biological control organisms was represented and gave a presentation at the meeting entitled, "How to Order and Release Natural Enemies." Commodity specific workshops provided participants a chance to discuss biological control options in corn, alfalfa, crucifers, general vegetables, fruit, nursery/landscape, greenhouse and forest with experts in each commodity area. On the final morning a hands-on natural enemy recognition lab allowed attendees to observe many natural enemies in action and learn techniques for identifying and using them in their farm situations.

The second extension biological control conference is scheduled for November 1-3, 1994, in Lincoln, Nebraska. This two and one-half day conference will discuss the biology, identification, and use of different natural enemies in insect mangement. Breakout sessions will address the specifics of biological control in corn, grain sorghum, alfalfa, turf and ornamentals, livestock, and horticultural crops. Registration is $95 and will include a comprehensive biological control publication. A program flyer and registration material is available from Nancy Fields, Conference Coordinator, (402) 472-2844.

For more information contact:

Video Tape Introduction to Classical Biological Control

"Biological Control: A Natural Alternative" is a video tape produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that discusses many of the past successes and current efforts of the agency in the area of classical biological control (importation of exotic natural enemies). Midwest producers will be very familiar with several of the pests discussed including the alfalfa weevil, cereal leaf beetle, European corn borer and pea aphid. Less familiar may be examples of current efforts in the biological control of weeds including leafy spurge and spotted knapweed. All of these pests were accidentally imported from other countries and have rapidly spread to become agricultural pests. Classical biological control is the process of going to the country of origin of the pest, searching for and importing into this country the natural enemies that control the pest in its native land. The USDA plays a central role in this process, maintaining laboratories in several countries to facilitate foreign exploration for natural enemies and providing for quarantine and redistribution efforts once natural enemies are imported.

The tape is an excellent resource that can meet the needs of many groups. It contains some fascinating footage of pests being attacked by natural enemies that is seldom seen by most people. At 26 minutes in length, this tape could be used in many classroom settings and various adult education programs including extension meetings or even business groups. It is available for purchase from

The cost of the tape is $50, and the catalog number is: A18029 VNB1. USDA's National Biological Control Institute has a quantity of tapes to distribute free of charge. Contact the Institute at (301)-734-4329.

New Biological Control Publication Available

Biological Control of Insects and Mites: An Introduction to Beneficial Natural Enemies and Their Use in Pest Management", NCR 481, is a new resource that no biocontrol practitioner will want to be without. This 91-page, full-color bulletin provides easy to understand information to help producers and crop consultants become familiar with the practice of biological control. The bulletin starts out with an introduction to biological control followed by chapters on the biology of insects, insects as pests, natural control of insects and approaches to insect pest control. The heart of the publication is an extensive chapter on the biology and ecology of each group of insect natural enemies. Finally, the bulletin addresses the practical implementation of biological control through chapters on importation, conservation and augmentation of natural enemies.

The bulletin is available through most North Central states extension bulletin offices or through University of Wisconsin

(Note: costs may vary from state to state). This publication will be a tremendous resource for producers, consultants and extension agents interested in implementing biological control in their cropping systems.


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