Biological control of pests in protected cultivation: implementation in Latin America and successes in Europe

Bueno, V.H.P.; Lenteren, J.C. van


The area with greenhouse crops is estimated to be around 40,000 hectares in Latin America, of which approximately 60% is occupied with ornamentals. Several pests are responsible for losses in yield or quality of greenhouse crops production and pest control is still mainly by chemicals. However, there are several stimuli for the adoption of biological control strategies as an IPM component, not only for the export market of products, but also for increased use of sustainable plant protection methods as a result of the increased success of this methodology in European countries. In Latin America use of native natural enemies plays an important role in pest control and the procedure for development and implementation for biological control in protected cultivation should, therefore, not be based only on the importation and release of commercialized exotic natural enemies. Biological control can be developed making use of effective native natural enemies, or of those introduced a long time ago, and might be supplemented with exotic natural enemies for those pests where native biological control agents are ineffective. In Brazil, the reason for use of native agents is mainly due to concern about environmental risks of imported natural enemies and also because native or naturalized natural enemies are well adapted to local environmental conditions. In many countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico, IPM and biological control programs are commercially used or are implemented in pilot greenhouses. Several successes of biological control programs used in Europe will be illustrated.