Research Priorities

ANBP supports projects which benefit the entire augmentative biological control industry allowing information to be shared with all ANBP members.

The Association of Natural Bio-control Producers (ANBP) represents North American and International producers and distributors of natural enemies for biological control, private research consultants, and government and regional scientists at research institutions and universities. Our organizational goals include the promotion of research and technology transfer to industry, new and improved ways to rear high quality beneficial arthropods, and methods to effectively deliver them to users. ANBP recognizes the value of public research for the advancement of industry. Most, if not all, commercial products came about as a cooperative effort between researchers and industry partners, driven by commodity groups.

ANBP supports projects which benefit the entire augmentative biological control industry allowing information to be shared with all ANBP members.

Specific Research Areas:

1) Pilot Projects: Development of systems approach to IPM strategies. Investigate the mechanisms underlining the success of bio-control in field settings and demonstrate these mechanisms to industry, advisors and farmers. The intent of these studies is to go beyond efficacy and to address how bio-control works so as to increase successful applications. This category of research could include, but is not limited to, pesticide compatibility, species identification, intra- and inter-guild predation, release rates, and non-target effects. Research projects must be driven by market needs. Clientele include the commercial greenhouse vegetable and ornamental industries, organic and IPM farming systems throughout North America, as well as backyard gardeners and those who manage filth flies.

2) Artificial Diets for Entomophagous Insects and Mites: Continue to improve diets for specific predatory insects and mites used in augmentative bio-control. Improve processes such as single step mixing, no-cook diets, affordable and practical ingredients, packaging, and feeding processes. In addition to diets used for mass-rearing, commercial insectaries also need diets to provide nutrition while transporting insects and possibly for supplemental feeding after release in the field. ANBP membership requires diets which maintain high quality of insects over multiple generations. Quality in this case is defined as acceptable levels of survival, longevity, fecundity and fertility.

3) New Technologies: Commercial facilities need to learn about new technologies which can help improve mass-production and make insectaries more efficient. These technologies must be practical and affordable to private companies. Examples of such technologies include automatic counting methods and imaging software which could distinguish between types of organisms. Visual imagery for field evaluation would be very useful.

4) New Product Development: Government and Private Research scientists and consultants cannot advise how to control arthropod pests without chemicals unless they can point to sources of high quality, affordable natural enemies for purchase. Developing new biocontrol products and improving the mass-rearing technology and efficacy of current products are top priorities for ANBP. Screening and isolation of potential new bio-control agents and their subsequent evaluation in the laboratory, field or greenhouse, is need as a pre-cursor to finding a species suitable for mass-rearing and marketing by commercial insectaries. Developing mass rearing protocols in research laboratories is essential for subsequent scale-up to commercial production levels.

5) Systematics: There is an increasing need for taxonomists, and both traditional and novel methods of species identification. Novel methods include molecular techniques to construct DNA database(s) that are expanded to include commercially available species. Another novel method is analysis of species-specific wing-beat frequencies in parasitoids. Accurate species identification is crucial for decisions involving application and regulation. For example, accurate identification is needed to determine if a species is permitted to cross international borders or to decide whether the correct parasitoid is being used to control a particular pest.

6) Emerging topics: ANBP foresees the following topics to increase in importance:

  • enhancement of native species to reduce reliance on exotic species
  • in-field rearing and conservation bio-control
  • application of bio-control to large mono-crop acreage
  • development of predator/prey and parasite/host ratios and application strategies


ANBP Student Poster Competition Awardees

ANBP firmly believes that encouraging students to explore and learn about all aspects of the applied use of natural enemies in agriculture, will be an investment in the future of the augmentation biological control industry. To this end, we offer poster competition awards at meetings, where appropriate. Our student winners have covered topics in basic and applied research and their posters have all demonstrated high quality work that is either already making an impact in the industry, or may hold a future solution to a difficult problem. Meet some of our past winners and check out what they are doing today.

Past Winners >>

Where can I buy beneficials?

Looking to buy beneficial insects, mites, or nematodes for biological control (biocontrol)? See a list of our current members and get links to their websites.

Member Directory