Biological control of stored products pests


Abstract: Biological control (BC) is applied worldwide during pre-harvest for arthropod pest management in a number of commercial crops. BC has been successfully adopted because it has been proved to be a technically and economically feasible alternative to the use of chemical control. Moreover, consumers are increasingly demanding free residue food products and legislation is promoting the use of more sustainable methods of pest management and a reduction in the use of synthetic pesticides. In comparison, BC is not yet considered an option during the post-harvest processing chain, and it is far from being adopted by the food industry, except in few examples in some countries. However, the increase resistance of many pest species to insecticides, the reduction in the number of active compounds registered and, the adverse impacts on the environment are also relevant reasons to develop alternatives to the use of toxic compounds for stored products pest control. The biology and control efficacy of a number of natural enemies of stored products pests have been studied in laboratory conditions but, in contrast, very little information is available of their performance in semi-practical or commercial situations. In spite of that, there are several positive facts that indicate us why BC can be considered an alternative when pesticides fail or are not available for stored products pest management and how BC will be applied in the future on a much larger scale than it is used nowadays.

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