Biologically based Integrated Pest Management is defined by the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations) as: “a pest population management system that utilizes all suitable techniques in a compatible manner to reduce pest populations and maintain them at levels below those causing economic injury”.
The major incentives that led to the widespread recognition of IPM as a key plant protection tool during the last decades were:
environmental pollution by agro-chemicals, resistance to pesticides by a whole multitude of pests, outbreaks of secondary pests as a result of using non-selective pesticides and disruption of pest-resistance mechanisms in plants.
IPM strives to combine different methods to combat pests.
These methods should be practical, effective, economically-feasible and coincide with the public interest to preserve human health and the well-being of the environment. The methods used in the IPM programs are derived from the science of Entomology (insects and mites), Phytopathology (plant diseases), Weed science and Nematology (nematodes).
IPM is strongly linked to the particular agricultural crop, its economical aspects, ecology and genetics of its different pests and their control. The most common methods used in IPM are:
- Chemical control, aiming at selective pesticides that will affect the target pests whilst inflicting minimum negative side effects on the environment and/or non-target organisms.
- Resistant plants to specific pests.
- Cultural control that utilizes cultural methods used in a given crop to minimize pest populations and maximize populations of beneficial organisms. Typical examples of cultural control are: crop rotation, cultivation methods, surface mulching, solarization, sanitation between production cycles, trap plants for different pests.
- Mechanical control – reduction of pests penetration to greenhouses through the use of insect nets.
- Control of pests by interfering with their physiological or behavioral functions. Sex pheromones are used for monitoring, mass trapping and male disruption of plant pests.
- Pesticides such as, Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs), affect the normal development and metamorphosis of pests. Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) is another measure to control pests via their reproduction system
- Biological control utilizes living organisms to control agricultural pests. Biological control by beneficial arthropods, i.e. predatory and parasitic insects and mites is BioBee’s specialty. Hence BioBee’s mission is to place biological control as a key component in any relevant IPM program.
BioBee is at the forefront of implementing biologically based IPM techniques in protected and open-field cultivations. Advice cards have been developed for integration of BioBee’s natural enemies with selective chemical pesticides under strict pest monitoring programs.
IPM/biocontrol technology and thus fulfilling the demand for dramatic reduction of chemical input in fresh agricultural produce.
BioBee is playing a major role in executing this process, offering its commitment and expertise to continuously improve IPM/biocontrol both professionally and economically and popularize this technology amongst growers.
BioBee’s skilled team of senior technical advisors will train and support the farm plant protection team (scouts) to ensure proper professional monitoring of all treated plots.