Biological Control and Natural Enemies

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Biological control is the beneficial action of predators, parasites, pathogens, and competitors in controlling pestsand their damages. Biocontrol provided by these living organisms (collectively called "natural enemies") is especially important for reducing the number of pests insects and mites. Natural enemies also control certain rangeland and wildland weeds, such as Klamath weed (St. Johnswort). Plant pathogens, nematodes, and vertebrates also have many natural enemies, but this biological control is often harder to recognize, less-well understood, or more difficult to manage. Conservation, augmentation, and classical biological control (also called importation) are tactics for hardessing the effects of natural enemies.

S.H. Dreistadt
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources