Biological control in El Salvador

Lenteren, J.C. van


In the 1960s, natural control was shown to play an important role in the reduction of saturniid populations in Spondias fruit trees by dipteran and hymenopteran parasitoids and in the reduction of coconut weevil populations by a staphelinid. Later, other cases of high degrees of natural control were documented, such as that of the cotton leafworm by a native egg parasitoid and of the Mexican beetle by an ectoparasitic mite as well as by a pupal parasitoid. Classical biocontrol of citrus blackfly and purple scale in citrus was initiated in the 1970s, as well asaugmentative biocontrol of lepidopteran pests with egg parasitoids. Another, very successful, augmentative biocontrol project during the 1970s concerned the killing of two mosquito species by an entomopathogenic nematode. Prospecting for nematophagous fungi in 1977 in El Salvador resulted in finding 18 species. Recently, several microbial control agents have been produced by the Escuela Agrícola Panamericana, Zamorano in Honduras for control of soil-borne diseases; nematodes and arthropod pests have been registered and are applied in El Salvador. Tilipia fish are used for biocontrol of Aedes mosquitoes, the vector of, among others, Zika, dengue and chikungunya viral diseases.