The following article is available for publication on websites, ezines or newsletters. Permission is granted to anyone to reprint for free provided Resource Box at end of article accompanies it and links within it remain active hyperlinks. I would appreciate simple notification of such use… send to email@example.com
Article Title: Biocontrol Agents for Organic Farming… terminology Author: A.O. Kime Category: farming/gardening Word Count: 1,180 Format: 65 characters per line Website Source: http://www.matrixbookstore.biz Article URL: http://www.matrixbookstore.biz/biocontrol_agents.htm Author's Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org ------------------------------------------------
Biocontrol Agents for Organic Farming… terminology: by A.O. Kime
If you haven’t been keeping up on latest developments in biocontrols… wait a minute, what are biocontrols? Oh, shoot, you know, ‘environmental friendly’ products which aren’t agricultural chemicals that are used for controlling crop pests. If you haven’t, then this article may surprise you. During past 15 years, latest in biotechnology, along with ancient pest-control methods, now provide a respectable arsenal of weapons in, well, you know, ‘biocontrols’.
What are biocontrols exactly? Is it stuff you use for organic farming, like ladybugs, sulfur and maybe soap-spray? Right on folks, but much-much more. Things change fast nowadays, ya know. The biotechnology which produces many of relatively new and growing list of biocontrols for American farmer (and gardener) has ushered in next era of pest-controls… at least as a viable alternative anyway. It’s growing so fast however, it’s new terminology, not technology, which you have to contend with first. I think we need a quick review.
To begin with, term ‘biocontrols’ is slang for ‘biocontrol agents' and defined as “biological derived or identical to a biological derived agent”. That means term covers all types of environmentally safe products. Watch out though, some of terminology might get confusing. ‘Biological control agents’ is a more specific term… meaning only beneficial insects, nothing else, although these bugs are often just referred to as ‘beneficial insects' or 'beneficial organisms’, somewhat slangy terms. Within that, there are sub-categories, insects which might be classified as ‘predators’, ‘parasites’ or ‘weed-eating invertebrates’ which are “living organisms used for controlling population or biological activities of another life-form considered to be a pest”. If you noticed, industry prefers to say ‘control’ instead of ‘kill’… a hedge maybe?
Today, there are about 30 commercially available predators, like spiders, mites and beetles, which seek out and kill other bugs. They are hatched, raised and sold by companies called ‘insectaries’. The number of parasites put to work has grown also, about 60 of them critters, likes of tiny wasps, flies and a myriad of other parasites, parasitoids (host-killer parasites) and also a few protozoan. Parasites live on (or in) various ‘hosts’ (their victims) which impede host’s development or generally causes them injury. A protozoan, however, is a ‘microbial control agent’, a different kind of agent, which are not to be confused with biological control agents.
There are about 25 biological control agents (good bugs) which control weeds although they’re often just called 'beneficial insects', most common slang term which farmers use. By whichever term, even though they don’t eat or live off other bugs, they go around doing good deeds by controlling weeds. Anyway, these weed-destructive bugs consist of moths, weevils, beetles and flies. A fungus or two are also available for control of weeds and fungus, like a protozoan, is also a ‘microbial control agent’. As you might suspect, honeybee is also considered a beneficial insect but since Africanized bee began infecting some of their ranks, they can also cause problems. I remember once when all bees led a dignified life within their beehives but today many are terrorists and live in weeds.
In addition, industry has identified about a dozen different beneficial nematodes, which, if you didn’t know already, are tiny little wormlike-looking creatures that live underground. Nematodes usually just eat roots and are normally considered destructive but these little guys like to eat other bugs. The industry has no interest in employing any vegetarian nematodes that are non-selective, they just want bug eaters. From here on, it starts to get more complicated and scientific sounding. Microbial control agents, like fungi and protozoan, also mean other teeny-tiny microscopic things like bacteria and viruses. Farmers use about 25 different kinds to control undesirable bugs and fungi.