New research on insects as natural pest control

Conservation headlandA new paper from the GWCT’s Head of Farmland Ecology, Professor John Holland, has been published in the journal Insects, discussing Conservation Biological Control – a component of integrated pest management that allows more sustainable farming, using insects as natural predator control to reduce the reliance on expensive and potentially damaging pesticides.

Like many other kinds of farmland invertebrates, these ‘natural enemies’ are in decline and need the support of farmers and farming practices in order to thrive. Various techniques, many of which were developed with GWCT research, suggest setting aside areas of fields in beetle banks, or the protection of local semi-natural habitats such as hedgerows and woodland, to provide habitat.

This paper discusses how we can develop strategies that support natural pest control. But it’s a complex area, and solutions need to be locally developed – there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to cover the diversity of farmland environments across Britain and Europe.

The paper is open access and can be read here or downloaded as a PDF.

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