News and Reviews

New Natural Enemies Book

The University of California's Statewide Integrated Pest Management project has published a wonderful new book entitled Natural Enemies Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Biological Pest Control. This field guide includes more than 180 color photographs and 140 line drawings to help readers find, identify and use natural enemies in their crops, gardens or landscapes.

The nine chapters of this 154 page practical guide distill the experience of more than 60 authors from the University of California and beyond and is designed for growers, landscape professionals, home gardeners and pest control professionals.

The book begins with a basic, easy-to-read introduction to the concepts of biological control. Chapter 2 is a Quick Guide to match specific natural enemies to pests. For each pest group, an approximately half-page table (much more for caterpillars and scales) summarizes the natural enemies attacking different pests, and directs the reader to later pages for a photograph and biological information on each natural enemy. This is quite useful, because the later chapters on natural enemies are organized by taxonomic groups (beetles, bugs, flies, etc.) and may be difficult for the uninitiated to navigate.

There are short chapters on the natural enemies of plant pathogens, nematodes and weeds, but the bulk of the book is focused on arthropod natural enemies, with a chapter to introduce that subject, followed by a chapter each on parasites, predators and pathogens of insects and mites.

One limitation of the book is that because it is so comprehensive, the biological information is scanty for some of the less common natural enemies. However, additional general resources (including MBCN!) are listed at the end for those interested in more detail. Also, as you might expect, there are some pests that just aren't relevant to the Midwest--I only wish we could grow plants attacked by artichoke plume moth, citrus whitefly, eucalyptus longhorned borer, or avocado thrips!

The promotional brochure describes this publication as "The best-ever practical guide to biological control!" That's debatable, of course, but it will make a great reference book, if for nothing other than the superb photographs.

Natural Enemies Handbook (DANR Publication 3386) is available for $35 (softbound) or $50 (hardbound) plus tax (California only) and shipping from:

University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Communication Services--Publications
6701 San Pablo Avenue
Oakland, CA 94608-1239

Credit card orders may be placed at (800) 994-8849 or (510) 642-2431 or by fax at (510) 643-5470. Send email inquiries to Discounts are available on orders of 10 or more copies.

- Susan Mahr, University of Wisconsin - Madison

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