ENT-53806 Biological Control of Insects


Studiepunten 6.00

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

Language of instruction:


Continuation courses:

ENT-30306 Ecological Aspects of Bio-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, the student is 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 the life-history and searching behaviour of insects;
- writing a report that incorporates knowledge from recent literature in the field of insect ecology.


The examination is based on a written exam, the quality of the literature evaluation report and on the performance in the experimental work.


A reader that addresses the topics covered in the lectures will be provided.

Verplicht voor: WUEBCBSc Minor Ecology and Biological Control of Insects5AF