Pests on the Farm
Common pests found at livestock farms are flies, fleas, lice, beetles and parasitic mites. Those pest thrive at the farm because of the abundant food sources and ideal breeding conditions. Chemical Pesticides are conventionally used to address these pest problems.
Biological Pest Control can be defined as the use of living organisms (natural enemies) to control a pest organism, the method is also also reffered to as IPM (Integrated Pest Management). This has been the method of choice to control pests problems in the horticultural food production industry such as aphids, white flies, mealy bugs and spider mites since a few decades already. More recently it has proven to give great results in many forms of intensive livestock farming controling mites, flies and beetles.
Why Biological Pest Control?
Nature provides us with solutions to keep a pest in balance with the rest of eco-system. Most pest organisms have one or more natural enemies, these beneficial insects enable us to control a pest by strategically introducing the natural enemy in the eco-system of the animals. Natural enemies like predatory mites, predatory flies or parasitic wasps are capable of providing a solution against pests without the risks and disadvantages caused by pesticides.
Chemical pesticides are in many cases harmful for humans, animals and the environment. Using them often starts a vicious circle of having to increase the dose or frequency of treatments since the pest organisms build up resistance against the chemical compound. That’s not all, even if a pesticide does not seem to be in direct contact with what will be our food, there is a big chance it will end up in there eventually. For example, the use of larvicides in livestock manure might sound harmless, however, this manure is often used to fertilise the land to grow arable crops, which we will consume.