management (IPM) and biorational IPM. EBPM is an IPM scheme that considers all possible management options and tactics that are complementary, effective, and sustainable with regard to the management of a pest and the quality of the environment. To be effective, EBPM tactics or agents might require environmental conditions that do not exist in agroecosystems. Reestablishing those conditions could require specific inputs or modifications of management tactics. EBPM typically requires more intensive management and planning and a fundamental knowledge of interactions among crops, pests, natural enemies, and the environment—requiring more time and record keeping. Some EBPM practices (such as augmentation biological control) could require an infrastructure that facilitates rearing, storage, and distribution of natural enemies (Neuenschwander et al., 1989).

Unlike strategies that rely solely on the use of insecticides, most EBPM is either specific to a pest or nontoxic, so it is less likely to damage the environment. Although many natural enemies can be susceptible to insecticides used against target pests, the judicious use of selective or specific types of insecticides typically has been considered an important component of integrated or EBPM schemes. Because most EBPM practices do not result in toxicity or pathogenicity to mammals, particularly in comparison to the use of conventional pesticides, they are more acceptable in terms of public health and environmental safety. Furthermore, insect pests are less likely to develop resistance to biological agents or to ecologically based controls. If resistance does develop, it is likely to occur significantly more slowly than would be occasioned by the conventional use of pesticides. Nevertheless, EBPM could pose risks, as do most environmental manipulations.


Ecologically based pest management can involve the use of living natural enemies (biological-control organisms), resistant crop varieties, or any product derived from those and other organisms. The tactics are deployed in any fashion that enhances their effectiveness and sustainable use against pest species. Those tactics and management approaches include the following:

  • host plant resistance (through conventional breeding or genetic modification)

  • vegetation management (in- or off-crop field refuges, trap crops, alteration of refuge vegetation, plant barriers)

  • traditional biological control (classical, augmentation, conservation)

  • sterile male technique

  • mass trapping using a compound derived from a living organism

  • direct use of chemical agents (synthetic toxins, biorational insecticides, behavior-modifying chemicals, insect growth regulators)

  • pheromone use and mating disruption

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement