ENT-53806 Biological Control of Insects


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. M Dicke
dr. M Kos
Lecturer(s)dr. ing. GJZ Gols
dr. ir. J Helder
dr. ir. FJJA Bianchi
prof. dr. M Dicke
dr. ir. VID Ros
dr. ir. CJM Koenraadt
Examiner(s)prof. dr. M Dicke

Language of instruction:


Continuation courses:

ENT-30306 Ecological Aspects of Bio-interactions; ENT-50806 Insect-Plant Interactions; PHP-30806 Molecular Aspects of Bio-interactions.


This course addresses biological control of insects and strongly links to the course Insect Ecology that covers fundamental aspects of insect ecology.
Main topics are:
- what makes an insect species a pest;?
- how can pests be prevented and managed;
- types of biological control;
- biological control agents of insects (viruses, bacteria, fungi, nematodes, arthropod parasitoids and predators) and their biology;
- how to select the best biological control agent, based on ecological and biological (e.g. behavioural) characteristics of the insects;
- integration of biological control with plant breeding and other non-conventional prevention and management methods such as habitat management, crop rotation: selecting the best natural enemy for the crop and the best crop variety for the biological control;
- dynamics and sustainability of pest-control agent systems/modules.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain what makes an insect species a pest and what types of biological control are available;
- explain what kinds of biological control agents are available to control insect pests and what their biological characteristics are;
- recognize ecological and biological characteristics of pest and biological control agents that are important determinants of the success of biological control;
- carry out experiments to investigate the ecology and behaviour of biocontrol agents;
- explain what legislation is in place that affects the application of biological control;
- identify the economic interests of all stakeholders involved and how these interests align, and whether this influences the choice and structure of the pest control programmes.


- lectures;
- experiments addressing (a) Viruses as biocontrol agents, (b) Predators and parasitoids as biocontrol agents, (c) Fungi as biocontrol agents, (d) Nematodes as biocontrol agents;
- writing short reports on the experiments.


The examination is based on a written exam (50%) , the quality of the reports and the experimental work (50%).


All materials provided in Brightspace.

Compulsory for: WUEBCBSc Minor Ecology and Biological Control of Insects5AF