Regular Monthly Meeting: Lady Beetles and Their Use as Biological Pest Control Agents
Lady Beetles and Their Use as Biological Pest Control Agents by Dr. Susan Bjornson. Biological pest control involves the use of natural enemies (predators, pathogens, and parasitoids) for controlling agricultural pests. Although biological control was first practiced in 4th-century China, the earliest, most spectacular success was recorded in California. This case involved the use of an Australian lady beetle for control of a scale insect on California citrus. Other lady beetle species have since been used for pest control on various horticultural crops and their efficacy has led to the ongoing practice of using lady beetles for pest control on agricultural crops and in home gardens. This presentation will focus on the history of biological pest control, the practice of using of lady beetles for controlling crop pests, and the ecological implications associated with using lady beetles and other natural enemies for pest control.
Dr Susan Bjornson is an invertebrate pathologist in the Department of Biology, Saint Mary’s University. She earned a Diploma of Horticulture (Olds College), followed by a BSc (Honours) in Environmental Biology (University of Guelph) and PhD in Entomology (University of Alberta). Her early research focused on biological pest control in horticultural crops. Her current research program involves the study of invertebrate pathogens that cause chronic disease in beneficial insects that are used for biological pest control.