Biocontrol Potential and its Exploitation in Sustainable Agriculture

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Parasitic Hymenoptera and Biological Control

  • T. C. NarendranAffiliated withSystematic Entomology Laboratory Department of Zoology, University of Calicut

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Pest management using pesticides has been an usual way to control insect pests by farmers all around the world in the past several years. This is primarily because pesticides gave quick and obvious results. Nobody bothered whether a chemical treatment is absolutely necessary or not. Soon the harmful effects of pesticides began to show. Chronic and cumulative poisoning began to appear. Secondary pest out-breaks and pest resurgence became common phenomena. Thus it has become imperative to all concerned to seek alternate methods of pest management. Parasitic Hymenoptera are good alternatives for chemical pest control. They form an important component in biological control programmes of several insect pests. Among the natural enemies used in biological control of insect pests, the parasitic Hymenoptera has been the most successful (Clausen, 1978; Noyes,1985). According to Greathead (1986) out of 393 species of parasitoids which have been established in classical biological control programmes, 344 (87%) are parasitic Hymenoptera. The parasitic Hymenoptera were responsible for 279 cases of effective biological control, as opposed to 3 cases of Aculeate Hymenoptera and 40 cases of Diptera.