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Biological methods in integrated pest management

Metody biologiczne w integrowanej ochronie roślin

Increasing public awareness of hazards to human health and environmental safety has significantly intensified activities aimed at reducing all types of risks in this area. In plant protection, these activities relate mainly to the risks associated with the widespread use of chemicals. The existing provisions of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market and having regard to the principles of integrated pest management clearly give “priority to non-chemical and natural alternatives wherever possible”. Biological methods are among the most popular types of non-chemical plant protection treatments. They rely on biological agents that are safe for human health and the environment. In terms of origin, these agents are classified into two major groups, i.e. naturally occurring in a certain environment, and those from other areas and/or produced on an industrial scale, and then introduced or released into a given environment. In a broad sense, biological agents include viruses and pathogenic micro-organisms and/or micro-organisms competing with pests (i.e. bacteria, protozoa, fungi), beneficial macro-organisms (i.e. predatory mites and insects, parasitic insects), substances of plant and animal origin (i.e. extracts, active molecules), and semiochemicals (pheromones, allomones, kairomones).

In practice, plant protection relies on three main strategies for the use of biological methods, i.e. classical control, augmentation and conservation. Each of these strategies has found a different application and employs different biological agents. Classical biological control involves the introduction of useful, most often non-native, biocontrol agents into the environment to control or significantly limit the population of native or non-native pests. These organisms are usually obtained from the areas of their natural distribution and are released in new areas, where they are expected to establish and effectively keep the pest population at a safe level. Augmentation biological control involves the periodic introduction of beneficial micro- and/or macro-organisms obtained from large-scale cultures to crop fields. These organisms are appropriately formulated and delivered in the form of biopesticides. In this strategy the biological agent should act immediately whenever possible, and its establishment in a new area is not expected. This strategy is most popular in commercial crops (cultivation under cover, mushroom farms, orchards, and some field and forest crops). Conservation control relies on naturally existing and specially created elements of landscape in agricultural and forest areas, to enhance the development of populations of beneficial insects that naturally live in these habitats. The main objective of these actions is to improve the quality of the habitat for these organisms by diversifying the landscape, and consequently creating shaded places and hides, suitable wintering sites, and conservation of the necessary, diverse food base for naturally occurring entomophages. A very important element of this strategy is the rational use of selective chemicals to limit their negative impact on beneficial organisms.

The continuously growing market for biopesticides indicates the huge popularity of biological methods in plant protection worldwide. This particularly concerns crops which are intended for direct consumption and have to meet the highest safety standards (fruit, vegetables, mushrooms, baby food, etc.). However, in recent years the safety of certain biological agents/biopesticides has also raised serious concerns, both in relation to human health and the environment. Therefore, it is necessary to comply with relevant provisions defining the principles of their use and detailed assessment of impact on human health and the environment to which they are released during plant treatment, and registration of biological agents/biopesticides in plant protection practice. At the level of the European Union, such provisions have been clearly defined for viruses, microbiological agents and substances of natural origin. The current list of biopesticides approved for use in Poland is available on the website of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MRiRW). The rules and decisions regarding the release of beneficial macro-organisms should be established at national level, but only some EU Member States have managed to develop relevant legislation.

  • Platforma Sygnalizacji Agrofagów

Projekt realizowany w zadaniach 1.5 
Programu Wieloletniego IOR-PIB na lata 2016 - 2020

Instytut Ochrony Roślin - Państwowy Instytut Badawczy

Ulica: Władysława Węgorka 20
60-318 Poznań

tel. +48 61 864 90 75

fax +48 61 864 91 20


Instytut Ochrony Roślin - Państwowy Instytut Badawczy

Internetowy System Sygnalizacji Agrofagów

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