PEPS 675: Biological control of pests. Provisional schedule, Spring 2012

Most recent update: 6 December, 2011. Currently being revised!

Instructor: Dr. Mark G. Wright, <>, Gilmore Hall Room 511A

This course assumes that students have a basic knowledge of ecology and entomology, and offers a critical overview and assessment of biological control theory, implementation, benefits and environmental concerns associated with biocontrol. Each class session will consist of a brief lecture, followed by an in-depth discussion of the reading material listed for each session. Each reading assignment is listed for the day that it will be discussed. Note that the readings listed are just samples of the literature available – please feel free to bring in extra reading material for discussions. Active participation of all students in the discussions is expected. Lab sessions are used for familiarization with insect grops commonluy used in biological control, and for students to conduct individual or group projects. Evaluation will consist of a midterm exam, a final exam, assessment of participation in discussions and a research paper.

Course outline and reading materials for approximately 32 lectures:

1. Introduction – Handout schedules, class assignments etc.

2. No lecture; Reading assignments: van Driesche & Bellows 1996, Chapter 1, Pest origins, pesticides, and the history of biological control; Chapter 2, Kinds of biological control targets, agents, and methods. Biological Control, Chapman Hall, NY. pp. 3-33.

3. Biological control – basic concepts, aims, general discussion on methods. Is biocontrol a science? The “art of biocontrol”.

4. More basics. Reading: van den Bosch, R. 1971. Biological control of insects. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 2: 45-66.; Caltigirone, L. E.1981. Landmark examples in classical biological control. Ann. Rev. Entomol. 26:213-32.

5. Types of natural enemies: Class presentations: Uses of various natural enemies; targets; natural enemy behavior; effectiveness.

6. What does biocontrol do? Reading: Hawkins et al., 1999. Is the biological control of insects a natural phenomenon? Oikos, 86: 493-506. Sax and Gaines, 2008. Species invasions and extinction: the future of native biodiversity on islands. PNAS 105: 11490-11497.

7. Ways of doing biocontrol. Reading: Caltagirone & Doutt, 1989. The history of the vedalia beetle importation to California and its impact on the development of biological control. Annual Review of Entomology 34: 1-16. Collier & van Steenwyk, 2004. A critical evaluation of augmentative biological control. Biological Control 31: 245-256.

8. Selecting biocontrol agents – appropriate pests to target; best guess at most effective natural enemies. Reading: Hokkanen & Pimental, 1988. New approach for selecting biological control agents. Canadian Entomologist 116: 1109-1012. Briese, 2006. Cana priori strategy be developed for biological control? The case of Onopordum spp. thisltes in Australia. Austr. J. Entomol. 45: 317-323. Morin and Edwards, 2006. Selection of biological control agents for bridal creeper: a retropsective review. Austr. J. Entomol. 45: 287-291.

9. Old vs. new associations. Reading: Dennill & Hokkanen, 1990. Homeostasis and success in biological control of weeds – a question of balance. Agric. Ecos. Env. 33: 1-10. Selecting biocontrol agents: Exploration. reading?

10. Cultural practices and biocontrol: Reading: Holland et al. 2008. The effectiveness of field margin enhancement for cereal aphid control by different natural enemy guilds. Biol. Control 47: 71-76. Denys and Tcharntke, 2002. Plant-insect communities and predator-prey ratios in field margin strips, adjacent crop fields, and fallows. Oecologia 130: 315-324.

11. Natural enemy behavior – habitat: Reading: Vorley et al. 1987. Migration of parasitoids (Hym: Braconidae) of cereal aphids (Hem: Aphididae) between grassland, early sown cereals and late sown cereals in southern England. Bulletin of Entomological Research 77: 555-568. With et al. 2002. Threshold effects of landscape structure on biological control in agroecosystems. Ecol. Appl. 12: 52-65.

12. Natural enemy behavior – hosts, patch utilization. Reading: Tumlinson, J. H., W. J. Lewis, and L. E .M. Vet. 1993. How parasitic wasps find their hosts. Sci. Amer. 268(3): 100-106.; Vinson, S.B. 1998. The general host selection behavior of parasitoid hymenoptera and a comparison of initial strategies utilized by larvaphagous and oophagous species. Biological Control 11: 79-96. Poelman et al. 2011. Parasitoid-specific induction of plant responses to parasitized hervbivores affects colonization by subsequent herbivores. PNAS 108: 19647-19652.

13. Natural enemy behavior – prey defenses, physiological interactions. Reading: Oliver et al. 2003. Facultative bacterial symbionts in aphids confer resistance to parasitic wasps. PNAS 100: 1803-1807. Foster et al. 2007. Behavioural side-effects of insecticide resistance in aphids increase their vulnerability to parasitoid attack. Animal Behav. 74: 621-632. Gentry and Dyer, 2002. On the conditional nature of neotropical caterpillar defenses against their natural enemies. Ecology 83: 3108-3119.

14. Natural enemy monitoring and evaluation. Reading: Hoffmann et al. 1990. Parasitism of Helicoverpa zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) eggs; Effect on pest management decision rules for processing tomatoes in the Sacramento Valley of California. Environmental Entomology 19: 753-763. Hoffman et al. 1991. Dynamic sequential sampling plan for Helicoverpa zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) eggs in processing tomatoes: parasitism and temporal patterns. Environmental Entomology 20: 1005-1012.

15. Natural enemies – impacts on prey/host populations – functional responses and population effects. Reading: Holling, 1959. Some characteristics of simple types of predation and parasitism. The Canadian Entomologist 91: 385-398. Madadi et al., 2007. Host plant effects on the functional response of Neoseiulus cucumeris to onion thrips larvae. J. Appl. Entomol. 131: 728-733. Varone et al., 2007. Egg limitation and the functional response of the parasitoid Campoletis grioti (Hym: Ichneumonidae). Biocontrol Sci. Tech. 17: 945-955.

16. Estimating natural enemy impacts. Reading: Bellows, 1981. The descriptive properties of some models for density dependence. Journal of Animal Ecology 50: 139-156. Beddington et al., 1978. Characteristics of successful natural enemies in models of biological control of insect pests. Nature 273: 513-519. Costamagna et al., 2008. The role of natural enemy guilds in Aphis glycines suppression. Biol. Control 45: 368-379. Veldtman and McGeoch, 2004. Spatially explicit analyses unveil density dependence. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 271: 2439-2444.

17. Types of mortality – what does % parasitism mean? Van Driesche et al. 1991. The meaning of percentage parasitism revisited: solutions to the problem of accurately estimating total losses from parasitism. Environmental Entomology 20: 1-7. Van Driesche 1983. meaning of "percent parasitism" in studies of insect parasitoids. Environ. Ent. 12: 1611-1622.

18. Life table analyses. Reading: Kuhar et al. 2002. Life table studies of European corn borer (Lep: Crambidae) with and without inoculative releases of Trichogramma ostriniae. Environ. Entomol. 31: 482-489.

19. Intra-guild predation: Reading: Rosenheim et al. 1995. Intraguild predation among biological-control agents: Theory and evidence. Biological Control 5: 303-335. Sher et al. 2000. Biological control of the leafminer Liriomyza trifolii (Burgess): implications for intraguild predation between Diglyphus begini and Steinernema carpocapsae (Weiser). Biological Control 17: 155-163. 

20. Multi-species systems. Reading: Chang 1996. Comparison of single versus multiple species of generalist predators for biological control. Environmental Entomology 25: 207-212. Snyder & Wise 1999. Predator interference and the establishment of generalist predator populations for biocontrol. Biological Control 16: 283-292. Schausberger & Walzer 2001. Combined versus single species release of predaceous mites: Predator-predator interactions and pest suppression. Biological Control 20: 269-278.

21. Hyperparasitism: Gariepy & Messing 2011. Development and use of molecular diagnostic tools to determine trophic links and intrerspecific interactions in aphid-parasitoid communities in Hawaii. Biological Control: 60: 26-38.

22. Climate matching. Reading: Samways et al. 1999. Global climate change and accuracy of prediction of species’ geographical ranges: establishment success of introduced ladybirds (Coccinelidae: Chilocorus spp.). Journal of Biogeography 26: 795-812. UPDATE to include GIS approach?

23. Economics. Reading: Fielder et al. 2008. Maximizing ecosystem services from conservation biological control: the role of habitat management. Biol. Control 45: 254-271. Griffiths et al. 2008. Efficacy and economics of shelter habitats for conservation biological control. Biol. Control 45: 200-209.

24. Environmental benefits of biocontrol. Reading: UPDATE

25. Impact of insecticides and GM crops on biocontrol agents. UPDATE

26. Integrating biocontrol with other pest management options. habitat manipulation; conservation biocontrol, insecticides. Reading: UPDATE

27. Non target impacts. Reading: Howarth, 1991. Environmental impacts of classical biological control. Annual Review of Entomology 36: 489-509. Simberloff & Stilling 1996. How risky is biological control? Ecology 77: 1965-1974. Barlow et al. 2004. Using models to estimate parasitoid impacts on nontarget host abundance. Environmental Entomology 33: 941-948. Louda et al. 2003. Nontarget effects – the Achilles’ heel of biological control? Retrospective analyses to reduce risk associated with biocontrol introductions. Annual Review of Entomology 48: 365-396. Kuris, 2003. Did biological control cause extinction of the coconut moth, levuana iridescens, in Fiji? Biol. Inv. 5: 133-141.

28. Predicting non-target impacts. Reading: Wright et al., 2005. Evaluating risks of biological control introductions: a probabalistic risk-assessment approach. Biol. Control 35: 338-347.  van Lenteren et al.?

29. Case studies: natural enemy - Trichogrammatidae – Reading: Smith review paper?; Wright et al. 2002. Effect of inoculative releases of Trichogramma ostriniae on populations of Ostrinia nubilalis and damage to sweet corn and field corn. Biol. Control 23: 149-155.; Suh et al., 2000. Trichogramma releases in N Carolina cotton: why releases fail to suppress heliothine pests. J. Econ. Entomol. 93: 1137-1145.

30. Case studies: pest – Diptera, Tephritidae. Reading: Messing work in Hawaii; eradication from Saipan UPDATE

31 – 32. Student presentations - papers.


For class presentations:

Lecture 5: Each student is expected to prepare a 15 minute presentation on a family (e.g. Coccinellidae, Braconidae etc.) of biological control agents, which will be allocated to them. The objective is to research ways in which natural enemies are utilized in biocontrol programs, what pests they are targeted against, the biology and behavior of the insects and their effectiveness in biocontrol programs. A handout should be provided for each member of the class.

Lecture 31 – 32: Students to compile proposals on ways in which effectiveness of a potential new biological control agent may be predicted.