Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in Agroforestry Systems (1995) 29: 303-311.


In this article we review the use of natural enemies in crop pest management and describe research needed to better meet information needs for practical applications. Endemic natural enemies (predators and parasites) offer a potential but understudied approach to controlling insect pests in agricultural systems. With the current high interest in environmental stewardship, such an approach has special appeal as a method to reduce the need for pesticides while maintaining agricultural profitability. Habitat for sustaining populations of natural enemies occurs primarily at field edges where crops and edge vegetation meet. Conservation and enhancement of natural enemies might include manipulation of plant species and plant arrangement, particularly at these edges; and consideration of optimum field sizes, number of edges, and management practices in and near edges. Blending the benefits of agricultural and forestry (windbreak) systems is one promising approach to field edge management that has additional benefits of wind protection and conservation of desirable wildlife species.