Biological control in Guatemala

Lenteren, J.C. van


Biological control was initiated in Guatemala in the 1990s, after costs for chemicals had increased substantially and had resulted in a drastic decrease in production of, for example, cotton and tomato. Most often, augmentative biocontrol is used in Guatemala. Examples of successful programmes are control of: (i) lepidopterans in cotton and vegetables by microbial agents and egg parasitoids; (ii) cotton leafworm by egg parasitoids and a predator in cotton; (iii) coffee berry borer with a parasitoid and a microbial agent; (iv) sugarcane borer with a parasitoid and a microbial agent; (v) diamondback moth with parasitoids in cruciferous crops; and (vi) white grub in maize with an entomopathogenic nematode. In 1998, populations of Anopheles mosquitoes, which are vectors of malaria, were successfully reduced by killing their larvae with microbial agents, resulting in a 50% lower malaria prevalence. A recently started project concerns classical biocontrol of the Asian citrus psyllid with a parasitoid. Biocontrol is expected to grow because of, inter alia, demands for residue-free food by countries to which Guatemala exports.