Biological control for the public
Despite the successful use of biological control in the control of insects and weeds for over a hundred years, this concept is still not very well known among the general public. Even in major universities, the concepts and methodology of biological control are not taught in the more general introductory courses, but only in specialized courses that usually have small enrollment. Consequently, less than 10 percent of the students attend classes that include the concept of biological control. This lack of knowledge of biological control among students, growers, and the general public throughout the State of Virginia is readily perceived in my dealings with them during the past 27 years. Very few are aware of the valuable potentials of biological control as a pest problem solving technique, or of the availability of research information on the topic. This unfortunate situation can be readily rectified through a more effective method of dissemination of information. To achieve this goal, the National Biological Control Institute (NBCI), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) has provided funds for this project to make biological control information more readily accessible. The objective of this project is to develop a program that provides information on the general principles and methodology of biological control in a format that is easily accessible in a compact disc (CD). Included are examples of biological control of weeds and insect pests, with color images of selected examples. This CD will be made available at minimal cost, to all interested individuals or groups, such as schools, county agents, foresters, 4-H, environmental groups, master gardeners, farmers, landowners, and highway departments. To complement this effort, a website on biological control containing information on insects and weeds and their natural enemies will also be established. This website will be continuously updated so that currency of information will be maintained.