Microbes are incorporated into integrated pestmanagement control strategies, taking the role as a biological control agent. Manycountries have implemented restrictions on several pest control managementstrategies such as pesticides, manufactures, and uses due to the negativeconsequences that have been studied extensively that prove to be harming thegeneral economy.
Due to this, microbial control strategies have beenextensively studied as an alternative to the chemical measures. Biologicalmicrobial control is the specific terminology when a microorganism is selectedto suppress a harmful pest. Biological control varies from natural controlsimply because human interventions is heavily invested into regulating certainpest populations. Prior to the use of biological andchemical control strategies, the economy suffered a massive loss of productiondue to crop damage from pest populations.
In addition, the economy suffered financiallyfrom the costs of the attempted measures to control and prevent the pests fromdamaging crops. Traditional methods such as crop rotating, flooding, dusting,and removing pests manually were the seen to be more effective in areas wherepopulation pressure was absent. Chemical control or insecticides still remainto an extent a method to remove pests.
Even though chemical control hadadvantages such as rapid in action and predictable results, it also had itsdrawbacks. According to Kalmakoff, “problems of cost, the need for back-uptechnology in relation to distribution, storage, and application, problems oftoxicity, pest resistance, and ecological distortion necessitating recurrentuse” were found to be side effects of using chemicals as the control agent. Inthe early nineteenth century, the term biological control was dubbed by HarryScott Smith and define as “the utilization of organisms for the control ofpopulation densities of animals and plants.” Since then the term and itsdefinition have been further expanded and studied. In 1949, the term microbialcontrol was first used to describe the application of disease-causingmicroorganisms or their by products to control and manage pest populations thatwere damaging to the economy.
Even though the central principle of microbialcontrol is decades old, the development of pest control strategies took timebecause the strategies depended on sufficient knowledge, education, andtraining in biology on pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, andprotozoan. Natural enemies are living organisms thatfunction to eliminate pests by decreasing the reproductive potential of thepest and/or by competing with pest population for natural resources such asplants. Predators, parasites, and pathogens are several natural enemies thateliminate pest problems in the economy. The application of natural enemies isproven effective through three approaches for biological control. The firstapproach is termed importation.
Importation is also referred to as classicalbiological control. This strategy involves finding the natural enemy where thepest originated and exposing it to the region where the pest has thriving andhaving the detrimental effects. The natural enemy then will push the pest outof the region. It is important for the control agent to have a colonizingability, which is described as the ability for the microorganism to endure thechanges in the new region. When the natural enemy establishes itself in the newregion, there is little requirement for additional input or help.
Importationis found to be long lasting and inexpensive. Some studies have shown it to bemost effective against exotic pests compared to native insect pests, which maybe a problem. The second approach is augmentation. This strategy involvessupplementing natural enemy populations in a region in order to enhance thenatural occurring populations in that certain region. Augmentation is more soof a preventive measure rather than a solution. The more natural enemies in aparticular area, the lesser the chance the pest will be able to survive. Thethird approach is the conservation of natural enemies.