Biological control methods in crops

When it comes to treating crops, we can choose several methods. One can be the agrochemical and the other the biological control in the crops. In the latter, living organisms are used to control others. You can be predators or parasitoids. Let’s take a look at some of them.



The most commonly used parasitoid is   Encarsia formosa  (an apocritical hymenopteran 1 mm in size widely used in greenhouse).

Other predators can be:  Eretmocerus californicus, Macrolophus caliginosus and Paecilomyces fumososeus.


There are a great variety of thrips, and each one can be specific to a certain crop:

–  Thrips tabaci : i is yellowish green when young and yellowish when adult.

– Thrips palmi : They attack cucurbits, ornamentals, citrus, etc.

–  Thrips simplex : Attacks ornamentals.

–  Kakothrips pisovourus : this “friend” is dedicated exclusively to legumes.
–  Frankliniella occidentalis : ( the best known ). It is the carrier of a wide variety of viruses in plants.

Well, as there are a variety of thrips, there are also a variety of thrips predators (nature is very wise), for example:

Amblyseius degenerans, Amblyseius cucumeris,  and several classes of Orius (a thrips-killing bug):  Orius majusculus,   Orius laevigatus,   and  Orius insidiosus.


As in the previous case of thrips, there are also a great variety of aphids for biological control in crops:

– Sipha flava. (sugar aphid)

– Toxoptera aurantii . (citrus)

–  Pentalonia nigronervosa . (cotton)

–  Aphis fabae. ( beans)

–  Rhopalosiphum maidis . (corn)

The aphid predator that offers the best results is   Aphidoletes aphidimyza .

More predators: the   Chrysopa carnea . It feeds on the molasses left by aphids. After its winter stop, at night (it is nocturnal) it preys on aphids.

Another predator:  Cecidomyia,  feeds on both honeydew and aphids themselves

More predators of the aphid:  Aphidius colemani, Aphidius ervi, Aphilinus abdominalis, etc.


In the case of caterpillars there are a great variety of species:

– Chrysodeixis chalcites.

– Autographa gamma.

– Helicoverpa armigera.

–   Spodoptera exigua.

– Spodoptera littoralis.

We can find a great source of caterpillar predators:

We find several types of caterpillar predators. Among the most mentioned are the following:

–  Bacilus thuringiensis .

–  Trichogramma spp .

–  Chrysoperla spp .

For example,  Bacillus thuringiensis  is very selective against the green donut (as well as tomato tuta, the cabbage butterfly, heliothis, plusids, etc.) and is not excessively expensive. A 50 g jar (around 25-50 liters of application) costs about € 6.


Known as  Tretranychus cinnabarinus  and  T. urticae.

It has a great diversity of accommodation (you can check it  here , we will almost always mention it), so it will need predators that are also able to adapt to different environments.

A well-known predator of the spider mite is the  Phytoseiulus persimilis . It is a bit refined with respect to the temperature (22º-25º C and RH 80%) in which it develops easily.

There are also selective predators, not with the crop but with the red spider that preys, so its use is more limited to situations in which the spider infestation is precisely identified. This is the case of  Phytoseiulus persimilis .

The  Phytoseiulus  feeds most states spider eggs, larvae and adult mites.


The  Phyllocnistis citrella,  commonly known as leaf miner, is a dipteran isect (lepidoptera) and is dedicated to digging galleries on citrus leaves and stems. Let’s look at their predators. There are also other varieties of importance such as  Liriomyza sp , with various varieties found of it such as:  Liriomyza trifolii, Liriomyza sativae, Liriomyza huidobrensis,  etc. These last mentioned varieties have a common enemy or predator, known as  Diglyphus isaea,  a parasitic hymenopteran very well adapted to the Mediterranean, unlike  Ageniaspis citricola,  which acts very well against  Phyllocnistis citrella,   which prefers tropical and subtropical environments.

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