Fighting Bugs With Bugs

Fighting Bugs With Bugs

Fighting Bugs With Bugs. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

More and more farmers are looking for better and more effective ways to control pests without the need to use a lot of chemicals. Researchers are discovering a unique and very effective means of doing that by finding a natural enemy of the bug you want to eliminate, grow it in a lab and then let it loose to attack the targeted pest. Dr. Peter Shearer, Entomologist at Oregon State University has been working on this “spider ate the fly” approach.

SHEARER: A new pest shows up, you go find its natural enemy, do the necessary background work and then release it and quite often you can have a positive benefit from that. And it will control it in its new habitat.

Folks here in the northwest have a number of pest to deal with not only in farm fields but in our national forests as well like the bark beetle. Dr. Shearer talks about it.

SHEARER: Their populations are exploding due to other factors, not from a lack of bio-control agents. The factors like global warming and drought, mass die-off of trees are causing these bark beetles to spread and increase their native range.

Shearer says a lot of work is being done with this type of pest control.

SHEARER: And that is called inundative release where you mass rear and release.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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