Safety of Augmentative Biological Control

Release of parasitoids and predators replaces pesticide application and thus enhances human safety. For workers in insectaries, handling of large quantities of insects or mites is an allergy risk. Where problems arise, risk can be reduced through air exchange or filtration to reduce concentrations of airborne particles and use of gloves and long sleeved shirts to reduce skin contact with arthropod body fragments. Risk to native species posed by releases of non-native natural enemies can be of concern in some instances. Generalist, non-native species released in large numbers may establish outdoors if climates are permissive and attack or suppress populations of native species, or reduce densities of native natural enemies through competition for resources. Consequently, some governments, such as those of Hawaii, Australia, and New Zealand, restrict importation of natural enemies used in augmentative biological control. Importation of North American green lacewing species (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae, Chrysopa spp.) (used in greenhouses as predators of aphids) might, for example, lead to the establishment of such species in the wild, increasing competition with the endemic native lacewings in Hawaii, which have conservation value as unique native wildlife.

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