University of California

Biological and cultural controls … Nonpesticide alternatives can suppress crop pests


Nicholas J Mills
Kent M Daane

Authors Affiliations

N.J. Mills is Professor, and K.M. Daane is Associate Specialist, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley. They are Co-Directors, Center for Biological Control, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 59(1):23-28. DOI:10.3733/ca.v059n01p23. January 2005.

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Biological controls (the use of natural enemies) and cultural controls (the modification of cropping practices) provide valuable alternatives to organophosphate insecticides (OPs) for the suppression of major arthropod crop pests in California. We discuss the successes and limitations of these two approaches with regard to tree fruits and nuts, vines, and field and row crops. For example, a historic success story is that the cottony cushion scale remains innocuous in citrus production, more than 100 years after its successful suppression by the vedalia beetle. More recently, growers’ use of groundcovers and road maintenance helps keep dust down on orchard roads to limit the buildup of web-spinning mites, and good vineyard management is now synonymous with cultural controls for grape pests. Although such alternatives may not always be as effective and predictable as conventional insecticide programs, recognition that partial suppression can greatly reduce the need for OPs will lead to the more widespread adoption of alternatives.


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Mills N, Daane K. 2005. Biological and cultural controls … Nonpesticide alternatives can suppress crop pests. Hilgardia 59(1):23-28. DOI:10.3733/ca.v059n01p23
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