Entomovectoring in plant protection
This paper gives an overview on the unique concept of the entomovector technology to employ pollinating insects, including honey bees and bumble bees in the context of biological control of insect pests and diseases. After a brief introductory description, the multifaceted aspects of this intriguing technology are highlighted by describing the most significant results and achievements of research groups around the world concerning: (1) the importance of vector selection, as this determines the transport efficacy of biocontrol agents into the crop and is influenced by the vector–plant interactions, (2) the different potential biocontrol agents used so far, (3) the significance of the diluent and formulation for an increased vector loading and transport, (4) the different dispenser types developed over the past 20 years, and (5) the safety of this technology to the environment and humans. For all these interactions, we identify in a critical manner the limitations and the successes obtained so far. The needs for further research are also discussed to increase the potential of the entomovector technology in practical use.