Natural enemies can be released all at once or over time to suppress pests or keep their numbers low. It has been found in close association with HWA on western hemlock, Tsuga heterophylla, in the Pacific Northwest, where HWA is not considered a forest pest. Natural biocontrol is certainly one of these factors because virtually every organism has one or more natural enemies. Environmental conditions change dramatically and outdoor releases of natural enemies can be negatively affected by high winds, rain, hot or cold weather and other insects in the ecosystem (e.g., red imported fire ants). and Sasajiscymnus tsugae “ (2019) Virginia Tech, Laricobius nigrinus (a.k.a. Types of Biological Controls Biological controls include a number of predatory insects specially adapted to feed on hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). A larger and hopefully hungrier cousin, L. osakensis started being released on the east coast in 2012. For example, introduction of natural enemies of the cottony cushion scale, Icerya purchasi, in the late 1800's is credited with having saved the California citrus industry from the ravages of this pest. This could occur because the natural enemy has moved into the area from surrounding states or records indicating release of the natural enemy are missing. This can involve the removal of factors that negatively influence natural enemies, or the addition of factors that positively influence natural enemies. It is important to first distinguish between "natural" and "applied" biocontrol. Purchasing and releasing natural enemies for pest suppression is a rapidly developing technology but there is still much to be learned to assure effective use of these products. Commercial products available for use in augmentive biological control include microbial insecticides containing living pathogens (bacteria, fungi and viruses) and multicellular animals (predators, parasites and nematodes). Microbial insecticides (bacteria, fungi, viruses) are regulated like pesticides by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Two species of Leucopis, L. argenticollis and L. piniperda, are being looked at as potential biocontrol agents for HWA in the eastern US. One strategy is to use physiologically-selective (or narrow spectrum) pesticides or formulations. Calibration Although research has shown that releases of natural enemies can be very effective in greenhouses and interiorscapes, outdoor releases are affected by unpredictable environmental conditions. General Chapters This is in contrast to the eastern U.S. where the alfalfa weevil biocontrol program is considered a major success. The other three genera in this family feed on fungi or the by-products of fungal metabolism. However, conservation biocontrol is also an important part of any classical or augmentation biocontrol effort. Most institutions that were working on rearing and releasing S. tsugae have discontinued this work to focus their efforts on other HWA predators. Three forms of applied biocontrol are generally recognized based on how the natural enemies are manipulated. Residues should be mitigated prior to releases. Another HWA predator that has been released up and down the East Coast is the lady beetle Sasajiscymnus tsugae. Biological Control of Arthropod Pests In other cases, the broad-spectrum insecticide suppresses natural enemies of a species that is not normally a pest, leading to a secondary pest outbreak. S. tsugae was the first approved HWA predator to be successfully reared in the lab in mass numbers and released across the eastern US, with the first release occurring in Connecticut in 1995. In cases where natural enemies are unavailable for augmentation, use of a selected pesticide that spares other natural enemies may be necessary. Status of classical biological control projects against arthropod pests in Colorado (CO), Nebraska (NE) and Wyoming (WY). However, many important natural enemies are rarely seen, such as parasitic wasps and flies (more than 8,500 species), nematodes and pathogenic bacteria and fungi. Natural biocontrol (or fortuitous biocontrol) is the reduction of a species' populations by natural enemies with no manipulation of the natural enemies by man. This family is not commonly encountered in the field, possibly due to its small size (< 3 mm long). IPM for Woody Ornamentals Specific techniques for making pesticide applications more ecologically-selective include reducing the amount of pesticide applied per area, reducing the area treated (e.g., treating alternate rows or alternate swaths in aerial applications), using pesticides with shorter residual times, altering the timing of pesticide applications, and using pesticides only when necessary. Probable causes for this difference between the two regions include different alfalfa cultivation practices, different alfalfa weevil strains, and differences in the natural enemy species established. Complaints regarding product performance can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Types of augmentative releases range from from seasonal inoculative releases, in which the released natural enemies serve to inoculate a new crop and control is provided later by offspring of the released natural enemies, to inundative releases, in which all control is provided by the released natural enemies themselves. Often, conservation biocontrol practices seek to minimize disruptions to natural biocontrol. Laricobius is a genus of beetles in the family Derodontidae, the tooth-necked fungus beetles. Click for a hub of Extension resources related to the current COVID-19 situation. Cost-effective use of augmentive releases requires an understanding of the pest(s), natural enemies, economic goals and the environment. Very few of these species dominate their habitats or are pests, so it is clear that most populations of most species are suppressed most of the time. Some easily seen predators are spiders, lacewings, lady beetles, ground beetles, rove beetles, syrphid flies, flower flies, hover flies, true bugs (including minute pirate bugs, big-eyed bugs and damsel bugs), predatory mites and even fire ants. Pesticides kill beneficial predators, parasites and pathogens as well as pests, and can cause outbreaks of secondary pests or rapid resurgence of pests that were initially suppressed. The three Laricobius you might encounter when monitoring on hemlock in western North Carolina are the two introduced biocontrol agents, L. nigrinus and L. osakensis, and our native L. rubidus. The image below show the comparisons in size and color between the three species. A relative of L. nigrinus that comes from southern Japan is Laricobius osakensis. Specific Chapters There are three broad and somewhat overlapping types of biological control: conservation, classical biological control (introduction of natural enemies to a new locale), and augmentation. Pesticides are one of the most common factors that negatively influence natural enemies. The release of natural enemies (predators, parasites and pathogens) to control pests is a type of biological control called augmentation. In some cases, this can lead to even greater pest populations because the pest population grows rapidly in the absence of its natural enemies, a phenomenon referred to as pest resurgence. Although comparable successes have been attained with other pests, classical biocontrol programs are not always successful. A variety of biological and environmental factors are responsible for this suppression. Note that some natural enemies are indicated to be established in the absence of releases. However, it has been difficult to quantify the establishment and impact of this species after releases in the wild. Conservation The conservation of natural enemies is probably the most important and readily available biological control practice available to growers. Classical biocontrol is often practiced against exotic pest species because these pests usually invade their new habitats without the natural enemies that suppress their populations in their native range. IPM for Turfgrasses Most are predator beetles collected from the wild in the US Pacific Northwest and Japan (where HWA is native) and reared in labs for release on the East Coast.

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