Safe use of biological control agents


Thursday, 13 December 2018

Biological control can represent a viable option in certain contexts to combat invasive alien species. Despite of successful experiences, especially in plant protection against insects, concerns arise due to the potential risk posed by the introduced agents to the environment, particularly when imported from other continents.


The administrative procedures to trial and release beneficial organisms can limit the use of biological control. A series of guidelines, developed by the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO), aim to provide standards for assessing and reducing these risks and to identify and avoid threats to natural and agricultural habitats.


Improved communication towards public, stakeholders, importing organizations and decision makers, as suggested by several authors, can help in the understanding and acceptance of the responsible use and the economic benefits of the biological control techniques.



For more information:

EPPO guidelines 2014

International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC):

White Paper. The Regulatory for Biological Control Agents.

Barratt, B. I. P. et al 2017 (IOBC):


Images: and Simon van Noort (Iziko Museums of South Africa).