The importance of biological pest control in environmental horticulture took centre stage at the “Getting to Grips with Biological Pest Control” technical workshop held recently by the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) at Thorpe-le-Soken, Essex.
Biological pest control has emerged as a vital plant protection option, particularly for horticultural crops grown under protection, and more recently, on plants that are cultivated outdoors. In its simplest terms, biological pest control means encouraging naturally occurring beneficial insects or introducing commercially reared control agents to achieve pest control on crops. Such ‘macro-agents’ are often used alongside a range of bioprotectants which contain living micro-organisms, botanicals or semiochemicals to give both pest and disease control.
The workshop aimed to enrich HTA members’ knowledge of biocontrol techniques, address product supply and application challenges, and highlight the effectiveness of biological agents in managing pests, while cost-effectively maintaining plant quality.
Wayne Brough, Technical Horticulture Manager at the HTA, commented,
“Horticultural crops substantially contribute to the UK’s economy, employment, environment and delivery of Net-Zero. The industry’s efforts, such as through the Ornamental Horticulture Assurance Standard (OHAS) and other initiatives, demonstrate a dedication to implementing integrated pest management principles into crop production. By holding workshops like this, we continue to foster effective and sustainable pest and disease control practices within the horticulture sector.”