For years chemical pesticides were considered an efficient way of protecting agriculture. But in the long term they don’t just harm would-be enemies, they also harm people and the environment. Biological pest control is an alternative - who could fight pests more efficiently than their natural predators?
Scientists all around the world are studying animals that bring the dream of pesticide-free farming a little bit closer. They include ichneumon wasps, which burrow into the eggs of the snout moths or Asian ladybirds that eat aphids. Targeted breeding and release of insects like these could free affected agricultural land from pests naturally. Meanwhile, an even more environmentally friendly approach is being pursued in India: ecologists want to combat pests by transforming existing agricultural land to provide the pests’ natural predators with good living conditions and so avoid the need to breed them in the first place. Several producers in Brazil and Europe are banking on biological pest control. But, whilst promising, these methods are still hit and miss and need a lot more work.