For thousands of years, Mother Nature has used her own form of natural pest control to deal with insects, critters and other pests. This is otherwise known as biologics. The food chain protects the Earth from over population of pests and other animals. Amazingly, before humanity stepped in, this system seemed to keep the balance of nature in check. Biologic control is a method of dealing with pests by introducing predators, pathogens, or parasites to an area to control or eradicate pests.
An old, familiar saying is that one must know their enemies. The best way to do that is to do a little research. A Bugs 101 course at the University of Alberta might help you understand the different kinds of insect life, and how to deal with them.
In biologic pest control, you must pay careful attention to the numbers and the type of biologic used. Otherwise, things will become unbalanced. It is a bit like the depressing children’s song of ‘The Old Lady That Swallowed the Fly.’ She continues to swallow predator after predator to deal with the chain reaction to deal with her actions. Eventually this results in her death.
If you are considering biologics, it is a good idea to consult with a certified pest control professional before undertaking any treatment plan. They can advise you on proper application and the monitoring process needed. You can also speak to them about handling the process for you.
It is tricky magic to use biologics for control. Some of the predators eat more than one type of insect, and you don’t want to create an overpopulation, or to lose all the useful garden insects.
One of the easiest ways to use biologics is to encourage some of the good predators to stick around.
Environmental control can modify whether the good predators stick around. Steps you can take to ensure they stay is begin by cleaning out areas of debris where pests flourish. Encourage the breeding of insects like ladybugs to keep aphid populations down. By providing fall and winter leaf cover, ladybugs have a warm place to hibernate and emerge in the spring. Other examples of natural predators are spiders, lacewings, praying mantis, and parasitic wasp varieties.
There are biologic companies that alter and develop different biologics to eliminate and control pests or weeds. They farm them in captivity for delivery and release on large areas. One example is the predatory wasp development for use against whitefly in greenhouse settings. Or Stem-weevil, which attacks thistle in crops.
Some agricultural sectors are asking for more support in bringing new biologics to the country and advocating for assistance in investigations of new strains developed in Canada. The University of California has released a good overview of biologics and how to manage pests in gardens and landscapes.
Nature has given animals an excellent instinct to sniff out food supplies. So pest companies are using dogs to sniff out termites and bed bugs. Dealing with unwanted birds, mice, and gophers can be as easy as bringing in cats, hawks and barn owls. Populations of animals are usually controlled by altering their environment or allowing predator populations to increase. Think gophers vs. coyotes.
While biologics have not been used much for controlling animal pests, they are being used to treat human diseases. In a weird flip, we may find success with human guinea pigs that will lead to uses in animal populations.
The move away from pesticides stems mainly from the toxicity to humans and animals when chemicals enter the environment. Additionally, pesticides developed years ago are not meeting today’s strict standards. With new research, the direct effects pesticides have on the environment is becoming more apparent.
A recent lawsuit regarding glyphosate in RoundUp claims it causes cancer in humans. This news has people looking twice at what is in their garden sheds. Pesticides require more specialized handling and regulation, but farmers support keeping pesticides for use in large areas because they are the most effective way to keep crops healthy and increase yields. They hold that with proper regulation, education and certifications for pesticide application, individuals can use pesticides safely.
If you want more information on biologics or have other pest control questions or issues call us at Martin’s Pest Control. Our Calgary & Airdrie pest control company can help you deal with any of your garden pests!