A biological control is a pest control tool that is quite common in many gardens. Our governments use biological controls to help control pest populations in sensitive areas where pesticides can either not be applied or where they may do more harm than good. You’ve probably used a biological control if you have purchased and dispensed ladybugs in your garden.
A biological control is the use of a predatory to control specific prey. Common biological controls for home gardens and yards are ladybugs and praying mantis. There are more types of biological controls available. A good example of these are nematodes. Some of these you can obtain at your local nursery and others you must order through the mail.
Do Biological Controls Work?
Biological controls do work but how well they work is dependent upon the task they are assigned and the time in which that task needs to be completed. Ladybugs do a really good job of destroying aphids, but they do nothing to about larger beetle populations. A praying mantis would certainly take on larger beetles and most everything else, but they are not target-specific.
If you are looking for a quick solution, then a biological control is probably not the answer. At least not the sole answer. These are organisms that take time to do their jobs.
Biological Controls Require Some Thinking
Ladybugs and Praying Mantis are both what we call generalist. They hunt a long list of prey but are not affective against all types of pests. There are biological controls that are pest specific. Certain types of wasp will only attack very specific beetles, such as those that bore into pine tree.
One of the first things that you have to think about is the relationship between the biological control and the pest. If you have an Aphid problem in the garden and you dump out 500 ladybugs you will still have an aphid problem. Ladybugs are generalists, so they will eat whatever they can catch and subdue. That may be aphids or something else. You cannot put out praying mantis chrysalis and think that they will solve your aphid problem. As they grow, the mantis is too big to handle an aphid and there are bigger targets in the garden.
The best way to use biological controls in your home garden and yard is to introduce them long before you have a pest problem. What we mean is that if you have an aphid problem every summer, then add ladybugs early in the season. They will help to control the aphid population before it become overwhelmingly large. There is also a small braconid wasp that preys on aphids.
The next thing that must be considered is how quickly do the predators need to work. If you dump out 500 ladybugs, most of them will disperse to other areas. Most predators do not congregate so, adding more does not work.
What Can You Do To Solve Pest Control Issues In Your Garden Or Yard?
Start with gathering information. Our team of pest control professionals is deeply educated about the pests we control. Know thy enemy and we do. We understand pests and how to handle them. Reach out to our team with questions and learn more about the options of controlling pests in your garden and yard.