Optimizing performance of biological control agents used in Integrated Pest Management

Supported by The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation

The main idea of this project is that effective selection (adaptation) and optimization of rearing conditions (acclimation) of arthropod predators used as Biological Control Agents (BCAs) in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) can significantly increase their effectiveness and range of use against insect pests.

Performance of insects and other arthropods is highly affected by local adaptation and by thermal and nutritional “history” of the animal.

In this project we will define and quantify parameters of BCA quality and efficiency and test the overall hypothesis that insect BCA systems can benefit greatly if local adaptation and acclimation are considered actively before the BCA is allocated to plant production systems. The project will identify genetic, nutritional and thermal preconditioning that optimize BCA performance and fitness, and in particular investigate the interactions between these three factors and physiological mechanisms underlying the interactions.

To achieve this goal, we propose a collaborative effort between the BCA industry and several internationally recognized research groups that represent complementing expertise in arthropod ecophysiology, biological control of insect pests, nutritional and evolutionary biology.

Project outline

The project is a collaborative between Aarhus, Aalborg and Copenhagen Universities, and an industrial provider of BCAs. Links to collaborators are found below:

Project participants: