What is Biological Control?

Biological control (also called biocontrol) is an environmentally safe and cost-effective control for many situations where you'd prefer to avoid chemical and physical control methods. Biocontrol is the use of one living species, the biocontrol agent, to control an unwanted species, the target.

Weeds are commonly controlled by introducing specialised fungi, insects or mites that inhibit the growth of the target weed, without harming other plants. Biocontrol can't eradicate a pest species, but it can reduce weed populations and slow down their invasive potential.

However, the efficacy of biological control agents is uncertain in the early years of introduction. It is often many years before the full benefits of biological control are apparent. For these reasons, it is important to use biocontrol as part of an Integrated Weed Management Program, to monitor biocontrol agents and their impact, and to use this information to improve weed management practices.