Species versus Species
Before there was such a thing as pest control or pesticides there was only one way of dealing with pesky bugs – by using other bugs, just the way they ‘bug’ each other anyway. So, what organic or biological pest control is is simply helping nature take its natural course. In the natural world, there are predators and there is prey. In organic farming we help the predators by using three basic methods: importing, augmenting and conserving.
This is also known as classic biological pest control and involves bringing the natural enemies of the pest you are targeting into the area. Bear in mind, when introducing a new species in an area, there is always the possibility that they could take over and eventually become pests too. Because of this risk, the organic farmer has to work closely with the government agencies in charge of the ecology. Importing is the cheapest and longest lasting way to control pests, although it is not always the easiest.
Augmenting is similar to importing – the farmer also releases the natural enemies of the targeted pests into the area. The difference between the two is that with this method there are natural enemies already present in the area, whereby the importing method is used when there aren’t any of these pests in the area yet. Either a small number or millions are released at the right time in the season, depending on what is needed. It is almost as though you are inoculating your area against pests with an influx of enemies.
By conserving the natural enemies that are already in the area, the balance is kept. This method is also called habitat manipulation and involves providing host plants, or even artificial housing that will support and encourage the growth of the enemy species. Conserving is the easiest organic pest control method by far, although it can be a bit more expensive than the other methods. (Costs can be drastically reduced.)
It’s all good, as long as you stay away from the chemicals
No matter what organic pest control method you use, it is definitely better than using chemical controls. With chemicals you are not only wasting money every season, you are also poisoning your food supply…