Recently, plant protection strategy has recommended, minimizing the use of chemical pesticides. Therefore, studying the side effect of insecticides on the natural enemies is highly required to exclude the detrimental effects on the natural enemies. Every crop is infested by various pests; some but not all of them may be controlled by biological means using pathogens, predators, parasitoids and spiders. But to achieve a satisfactory control of complexes of pests, selective pesticides are also indispensable. In fact, they are a prerequisite of Integrated Pest Management.
The integration of chemical and biological control is often critical to the success of an integrated pest management (IPM) program for arthropod pests (Smilanick et al. 1996; El-Wakeil & Vidal 2005; El-Wakeil et al. 2006; Volkmar et al. 2008). In contrast with nonsystemic insecticides, many systemic insecticides and their metabolites are claimed to be fairly safe for beneficial insects because direct exposure to these chemicals occurs when insects feed on plant tissue. However, systemic insecticides can potentially contaminate floral and extrafloral nectar when systemically distributed throughout the plant (Lord et al. 1968) and cause high mortality to nectarfeeding parasitoids for as long as some weeks after insecticide application (Stapel et al. 2000).
Most biological control agents, including predators, parasitoids and spiders, at work in the agricultural and urban environments are naturally occurring ones, which provide excellent regulation of many pests with little or no assistance from humans. The existence of naturally occurring biological control agents is one reason that many plant-feeding insects do not ordinarily become economic pests. The importance of such agents often becomes quite apparent when pesticides applied to control one pest cause an outbreak of other pests because of the chemical destruction of important natural enemies. There is great potential for increasing the benefits derived from naturally occurring biological controls, through the elimination or reduction in the use of pesticides toxic to natural enemies.
The main objective of this book chapter studying the insecticide side effects on development, parasitism or predation efficacy and emergence capacity as well as to preserve effective biological control agents is a combination of tactics including an understanding of the biology and behaviour of arthropods (parasitoids, predators and spiders), detailed monitoring of life history and population dynamics of pests and natural enemies, employment of selective pesticides, application only when absolutely necessary, basing chemical control on established economic injury levels and application at the least injurious time.
2. Side effects on parasitoid wasps
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs are used worldwide for controlling different agricultural pests. The use of natural enemy agents in combination with selected insecticides, which have no effect on them, is effective in depressing the population density of the pest. Generally, egg parasitoids such as
2.1. Egg parasitoids
2.1.1. Trissolcus grandis
The scelionid egg parasitoid
Saber et al. (2005) assessed effects of fenitrothion and deltamethrin, on adults and preimaginal stages of egg parasitoid
2.1.2. Telenomus remus
It is very important studying the insecticide side effects on egg parasitoids. The first study on side-effects of neem products on egg- parasitoids was conducted by Joshi et al. (1982) in India. These authors applied a 2% aqueous NSKE (Neem Seed Kernel Extract) on the egg masses of the noctuid
2.1.3. Trichogramma species
Assessment of the potential effects that pesticides have on the natural enemies is therefore an important part of IPM programs (Hirai 1993; Hassan 1994; Consoli et al. 1998; Takada et al. 2000). Detailed knowledge of the effects of different pesticides on the immature stages of natural enemies will help to determine the timing of sprays, thus avoiding the most susceptible stages (Campbell et al. 1991; Guifen and Hirai 1997). Mass breeding and release of parasitoids for control of various lepidopterous pests is now a commercial practice in many countries. However, the efficacy of the parasitoid is influenced a great deal by the insecticide spray schedule before and after parasitoid release. Candidate parasitoids for IPM programs should therefore be tested for susceptibility to the insecticides being used for controlling crop pests (Hassan et al. 1987). Egg parasitoids are known to be very effective against a number of crop pests.
Suh et al (2000) investigated effect of insecticides on emergence, adult survival, and fitness parameters of
During the past three decades,
Since the successful eradication of
El-Wakeil et al. (2006) reported that their results indicated that NeemAzal-T/S reduced the parasitism rates to 50, 48.9, 71.1 and 73.3 % at 2, 1, 0.5, 0.25% cons, respectively (Fig. 2A), compared to 96.6% on control plants. NeemAzal PC 05 reduced the parasitism rates to 70, 67.8, 70 and 80% on succeeding concentrations; 2, 1, 0.5 and 0.25%. Neem blanks achieved a less side effect on
Li et al. (1986) tested 29 insecticides including Bt & Non Bt in order to study their side-effects on
Cano & Gladstone (1994) studied the influence of the NSK-based extract NIM-20 on parasitization of eggs of
Srinivasa Babu et al. (1996) studied the effects of neem-based commercial insecticides such as Repelin and Neemguard on
However, some neem formulations such as Nimbecidine (0.25-4.0%), Neemgold (2.0-4.0%) and Rakshak (1.0%) are reported to possess adverse effects on parasitism (Lakshmi et al. 1998; Koul & Wahab 2004). Raguraman and Singh (1999) tested in detail the neem seed oil at concentrations of 5.0, 2.5, 1.2, 0.6 and 0.3% for oviposition deterrence, feeding deterrence, toxicity, sterility and insect growth regulator effects against
2.2. Larval and larval/ pupal parasitoids
Schneider & Madel (1991) reported that there was no adverse effect on adults of the braconid
Schmutterer (1992, 1995, 2002) studied the side-effects of 10 ppm and 20 ppm of an aza-containing and an aza-free fraction of an aqueous NSKE, of AZT-VR-K and MTB/H,O-K-NR on
According to Jakob & Dickler (1996) adults of the ectoparasitic, gregarious eulophid
Hoelmer et al. (1990) evaluated the side effects of Margosan-O on parasitoids of the whitefly
Schauer (1985) reported that the aphid parasitoids
In laboratory trials of Feldhege & Schmutterer (1993), using Margosan-0 as pesticide and
Stansly & Liu (1997) found that neem extract, insecticidal soap and sugar esters had little or no effect on
Total parasitism by Chalcidoidea and Ichneumonoidea ranged from 10 to 29%. Use of a neem preparation for pest control had no effect on the rate of parasitism (Olivella & Vogt 1997). Sharma et al. (1999) also reported that the extracts from neem and custard apple kernels were effective against the spotted stem borer,
Stark et al. (1992) studied the survival, longevity and reproduction of the three braconid parasitoids namely
Facknath (1999) and Reddy & Guerrero (2000) evaluated biorational and regular insecticide applications for management of the diamondback moth
Perera et al. (2000) studied the effect of three feeding deterrents: denatonium benzoate, azadirachtin and Pestistat on 4th instar larvae of
Bruhnke et al. (2003) evaluated effects of pesticides on the wasp
3. Side effects of insecticides on coccinellids
Many research studies show that integration of chemical, cultural and biological control measures are getting popular as integrated pest management (IPM), components, throughout the world. In this regard, biological control occupies a central position in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Programmes. Because biological control agents for pests and weeds have enormous and unique advantages, it is safe, permanent, and economical (Kilgore & Doutt, 1967). Augmentative releases of several coccinellid species are well documented and effective; however, ineffective species continue to be used because of ease of collect ion (Obrycki & Kring 1998). About 90% of approximately 4,200 coccinellid species are considered beneficial because of their predatory activity, mainly against homopterous insects and mites.
Pesticides are highly effective, rapid in action, convenient to apply, usually economical and most powerful tools in pest management. However, indiscriminate, inadequate and improper use of pesticides has led to severe problems such as development of pest resistance, resurgence of target species, outbreak of secondary pests, destruction of beneficial insects, as well as health hazards and environmental pollution. It is therefore, a high time to evaluate the suitable products to be used in plant protection strategy. In an integrated control programme, it was necessary to utilize some insecticides with minimal toxicity to natural enemies of pests. Such practice might help to alleviate the problems of pest resurgence, which is frequently associated with insecticide up use in plant protection (Yadav, 1989; Meena et al. 2002).
The coccinellids predatory activity usually starts at medium high level of pest density, so the natural control is not quick, but is often effective. Untreated areas (such as edge rows) close to the orchards serve as refugia and play a strategic role in increasing biological control by coccinellids. The side effects (short term/ microscale) of several organophosphate and carbamate derived insecticides (commonly used to control tortricids, leafminers or scale pests in differnt orchards) against aphid-feeding coccinellid species were evaluated in fields tests in apple, pear and peach orchards according to the method described by Stäubli et al. (1985). The main species of aphid feeding coccinellids found were
The influence of 7 pesticides (6 insecticides & 1 acaricide) on different stages (adults, larvae, eggs) of
Olszak et al. (1994) investigated influencing of some insect growth regulators (IRGs) on different developmental stages of
Pasqualini & Civolani (2003) examined six insecticides on adults of the aphidophagous coccinellids
To further develop IPM against aphids, it is important to evaluate the effects that these insecticides might have on
In the ﬁeld, beneﬁcial arthropods can be exposed to insecticides in several ways: by direct contact with spray droplets; by uptake of residues when contacting with contaminated plant surfaces; by ingestion of insecticide contaminated prey, nectar or honeydew (i.e. uptake of insecticide-contaminated food sources) (Longley & Stark 1996; Obrycki & Kring 1998; Lewis et al. 1998; Youn et al. 2003). Since it is known that the susceptibility of natural enemies to insecticides varies with the route of pesticide exposure (Longley & Stark 1996; Banken & Stark 1998; Naranjo 2001; Grafton-Cardwell & Gu 2003), it is important to perform both topical and residual tests as they can provide valuable information about the expected and observed impacts of insecticides on natural enemies in the ﬁeld (Tillman & Mulrooney 2000). On the other hand, in the ﬁeld predator/ prey interactions generally occur in structurally complex patches (i.e. plant architecture and surface features), which thereby inﬂuences the predator’s foraging efﬁcacy (Dixon 2000). Thus, studies regarding insecticide effects on predator’s voracity should also reﬂect such scenarios (i.e. the tri-trophic system predator/prey/plant), particularly when testing systemic insecticides where the presence of the plant allows prey contamination not only by contact, but also through the food source.
Some studies have addressed the susceptibility of immature and adult coccinellids to pirimicarb and pymetrozine, when directly sprayed on prey and/or predators (e.g. James 2003) but nothing is known about the side effects of these chemicals on prey/predator interactions within tri-trophic systems. Thus, Cabral et al. (2011) evaluated effects of pirimicarb and pymetrozine on the voracity of 4th instar larvae and adults of
Other studies suggested that the predatory efficiency of both adult and fourth instar larvae of
The cultural practice that has the greatest effect on local populations of coccinellids is the application of insecticides. Accordingly, the greatest gains may be attained through reduction of toxic pesticides in coccinellid habitats. Insecticides and fungicides can reduce coccinellid populations. They may have direct or indirect toxic effect s (DeBach & Rosen 1991). Surviving coccinellids may also be directly affected,
Vostrel (1998) stated that most of times tested acaricides, insecticides (carbamates & synthetic pyrethroids), exerted negative effects to varying degrees on all stages of
Based on many years of research, it is stated that bacterial and fungal biological preparations at rates recommended for use in agriculture show low toxicity to the predators
4. Side effects on lacewings (
The common green lacewing,
Insecticides, earlier considered as the backbone in crop protection, have become subordinate to other control methods, such as biocontrol which has gained more credibility in the last decades (Zaki et al. 1999b; Sarode & Sonalkar 1999b; Senior & McEwen 2001). But, the effectiveness of bioagents has been jeopardized by these insecticides. The sensitivity of
Saleem & Matter (1991) observed that the neem oil acted as temporary repellent against the predatory staphylinid beetle,
Joshi et al. (1982) noted that 2 percent neem seed kernel suspension, when sprayed on tobacco plants, conserved the
Spinosad is registered in many countries including Egypt for controlling lepidopteran and dipteran pests in fruit trees, ornamental plants, ﬁeld- and vegetable crops. Medina et al. (2001, 2003b) studied the effect of spinosad on
5. Side effects on predatory spiders and mites
There is an increasing interest in the ecology of polyphagous predators (e.g. Araneae) in agriculture. Spiders are important natural enemies of many insect pests, as they are generalist predators and comprise a large part of the beneficial arthropod community in agricultural fields (Nyffeler 1982; Riechert & Lockley 1984; Sunderland et al. 1986; Young & Lockley 1985; Everts 1990), and a number of case studies in different crops (e.g. Mansour et al. 1981; Nyffeler & Benz 1987, 1988) show that spiders can indeed be effective pest control agents in many situations. However spiders are also easily affected by pesticides (Boller et al. 1989; Everts et al. 1989; Aukema et al. 1990; Volkmar 1995, 1996; Volkmar & Wetzel 1993; Volkmar & Schier 2005; Volkmar et al. 1992, 1996 a, b, 2003, 2004).
Agricultural entomologists recorded the importance of spiders as a major factor in regulating pest and they have been considered as important predators of insect pests and serve as a buffer to limits the initial exponential growth of prey population (Volkmar 1996; Snyder & Wise 1999; Nyffeler 2000; Sigsgaard 2000; Maloney et al. 2003; Venturino et al. 2008; Chatterjee et al. 2009; Jayakumar & Sankari 2010). However researchers have exposed those spiders in rice field can play an important role as predators in reducing plant hoppers and leafhoppers (Visarto et al. 2001; Lu Zhong- Xian 2006, 2007). Several workers reported the predatory potency of spiders in rice ecosystem (Samiyyan 1996; Sahu et al. 1996; Pathak & Saha 1999; Sigsgaard 2000; Vanitha 2000; Mathirajan 2001; Sunil Jose et al. 2002; Satpathi 2004; Sudhikumar et al. 2005; Sebastian et al. 2005; Motobayashi et al. 2006). According to Peter (1988), the crop having more insects or insect visitors always had more spiders.
Many studies have demonstrated that spiders can significantly reduce prey densities. Lang et al. (1999) found that spiders in a maize crop depressed populations of leafhoppers (Cicadellidae), thrips (Thysanoptera), and aphids (Aphididae). The three most abundant spiders in winter wheat,
Among the identified species,
Samiyyan & Chandrasekaran (1998) reported spiders were effective against leaf folders, Cut worms and Stem borers.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) aims to avoid harming natural crop spiders. For this, IPM, attempts to synchronize the timing of spraying of pesticides with the life cycle of the pests, their natural enemies (predatory spiders and mites) (Bostanian et al. 1984; Volkmar 1989; Volkmar & Wetzel 1992). IPM also endeavours to use chemicals that act selectively against pests but not against their enemies. Few studies actually investigate effects of insecticides other than their direct toxicity (usually LD50) on non-target animals. However, living organisms are finely tuned systems; a chemical does not have to be lethal in order to threaten the fitness (physical as well as reproductive) of the animal, with un-predictable results on the structure of the biological community (Culin & Yeargan 1983; Volkmar & Schützel 1997; Volkmar & Schier 2005). Pesticides may affect the predatory and reproductive behaviour of beneficial arthropods short of having direct effects on their survival. Thus to show that a pesticide is relatively harmless, or indeed has no measurable effect at all, behavioural studies on the effects of sublethal dosages are necessary. Such studies are not often done, presumably because of their costs in methodological difficulties (Vollrath et al. 1990; Volkmar et al. 1998, 2002, 2004).
5.1. Side effects on predatory spiders
Agricultural fields that are frequently sprayed with pesticides often also have lower spider populations in winter wheat (Feber et al. 1998; Yardim & Edwards 1998; Holland et al. 2000; Amalin et al. 2001). In general, spiders are more sensitive than many pests to some pesticides, such as the synthetic pyrethroids, (cypermethrin and deltamethrin); the organophosphates, (dimethoate and malathion) and the carbamate, ( carbaryl). A decrease in spider populations as a result of pesticide use can result in an outbreak of pest populations (Marc et al. 1999; Holland et al. 2000; Maloney et al. 2003).
Spiders can lower insect densities, as well as stabilize populations, by virtue of their top-down effects, microhabitat use, prey selection, polyphagy, functional responses, numerical responses, and obligate predatory feeding strategies and we aim to review the literature on these topics in the following discussion. Nevertheless, as biological control agents, spiders must be present in crop fields and prey upon specific agricultural pests. Indeed, they are present and do eat pest insects. Spiders of several families are commonly found in agroecosystems in winter wheat and many have been documented as predators of major crop pest species and families (Roach 1987; Nyffeler & Benz 1988; Riechert & Bishop 1990; Young & Edwards 1990; Fagan & Hurd 1991; Nyffeler et al. 1992; Marc & Canard 1997; Wisniewska & Prokopy 1997; Fagan et al. 1998; Lang et al. 1999; Marc et al. 1999). Spiders may be important mortality agents of crop pests such as aphids, leafhoppers, planthoppers, fleahoppers, and Lepidoptera larvae (Rypstra et al. 1999; Maloney et al. 2003).
Many farmers use chemical pesticides to help control pests. An ideal biological control agent, therefore, would be one that is tolerant to synthetic insecticides. Although spiders may be more sensitive to insecticides than insects due in part to their relatively long life spans, some spiders show tolerance, perhaps even resistance, to some pesticides. Spiders are less affected by fungicides and herbicides than by insecticides (Yardim & Edwards 1998; Maloney et al. 2003). Spiders such as the wolf spider
Saxena et al. (1984) reported that the wolf spider,
Samu & Vollrath (1992) assessed a bioassay to test (ultimately in the field) such hidden effects of agrochemicals in their application concentrations. As a paradigm we chose the web- building behaviour of the cross spider
There are also some studies that prove the neem’s lack of toxicity against spiders and mites. Like
Babu et al. (1998) reported that a combination of seedling root dip in 1 percent neem oil emulsion for 12h + soil application of neem cake at 500 kg/ha + 1 per cent neem oil spray emulsion at weekly intervals gave an effective level of control of green leafhopper (
Nanda et al. (1996) tested the bioefficacy of neem derivatives against the predatory spiders, wolf spiders (
5.2. Side effects on predatory mites
Members of the family Phytoseiidae show a remarkable ability to reduce red spider mite infestations. There are many behavioural aspects that need to be considered in the phytophagous and predacious mites. Recognizing these behaviours and the side effects of pesticides on predatory mites can increase the success of biological control. Therefore, successful utilization of biological control could depend on the compatibility of the natural predators with pesticides. Studies on the side effects of pesticides on phytoseiid mites in Portugal have begun in 1995 (Rodrigues et al. 2002; Cavaco et al. 2003). Further research to evaluate these side effects of pesticides on all sensitive stages of the phytoseiid mites were conducted (Blümel et al. 2000; Broufas et al. 2008; Olszak & Sekrecka 2008).
The predatory mite
There are many spider mites such as
Biological control of these pests is increasing because of the pressure on growers to find alternatives to chemical pesticides (van Lenteren 2000). In the presence of chemical applications, biological control of spider mites may be achieved by the selective use of pesticides that are less toxic to natural enemies than to pest species (Zhang & Sanderson 1990). Ruberson et al. (1998) suggested that selective pesticide were the most useful tool of integration of biological control agents into pest control programs. A strain of
Bostanian et al. (2004) studied the toxicity of Indoxacarb to two predacious mites:
Rodrigues et al (2004) evaluated the toxicity of five insecticides (
Cavaco et al (2003) studied evaluating the field toxicity of five insecticides on predatory mites (Acari: Phytoseiidae). The dominant species of phytoseiid in the region of Guarda was
Spinosad controls many caterpillar pests in vines, pome fruit and vegetables (including tomatoes and peppers), thrips in tomatoes, peppers and ornamental cultivation and dipterous leafminers in vegetables and ornamentals (Bylemans & Schoonejans 2000). Spinosad can be used to control pests in crops where the conservation of predatory mites is an important component of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (Thompson et al. 1997). Additionally, there are governmental and environmental pressures to develop and use products safely with minimum impact on non-target arthropods. Predatory mite species are recognised as both important antagonists of pest species and sensitive indicators of ecologically significant effects (Overmeer 1988; Sterk & Vanwetswinkel 1988).
Miles & Dutton (2003) conducted extended laboratory experiments, semi-field and field tests to examine effects of spinosad on predatory mites. Under extended laboratory conditions (exposure on natural substrates) no effects were seen on
Papaioannou et al. (2000) studied the effects of a NSKE (Neemark) and Bioryl(R) vegetable oils against phytophagous and predatory mites using bean leaves treated with different concentrations. Neemark (3 and 5%) was moderately toxic to
6. Conservation and enhancement of natural enemy assemblages
Conservation of predators in the field can be accomplished by reducing both chemical and physical disturbance of the habitat. Natural enemy densities and diversities are significantly higher in orchards and fields where no pesticides have been sprayed (Yardim and Edwards 1998; Marc et al. 1999; Holland et al. 2000; Amalin et al. 2001). Restricting insecticide treatment to crucial periods in the pest life cycle or limiting spraying to midday when many wandering natural enemies are inactive and in sheltered locations can help conserve spider numbers (Riechert & Lockley 1984). Natural enemies can recolonize if the interval between chemical applications is long enough, but several applications per season can destroy natural enemy communities. Some pesticides are also retained in the natural enemies and can be detrimental to those spiders that ingest their webs daily (Marc et al. 1999).
Besides pesticides, other human practices that can disrupt natural enemy populations are mowing, plowing, harvesting, and crop rotation (Nyffeler et al 1994; Marc et al. 1999). Soil disturbance by plowing destroys overwintering sites and can kill any agent already present in the soil (Marshall & Rypstra 1999; Maloney et al. 2003). The movement of farm equipment through a crop field damages spider webs and may destroy web attachment sites (Young & Edwards 1990). Consequently, density and diversity of natural enemies are higher in organic fields than in conventional ones. For example, in cereal fields, Lycosidae made up only 2% of the community in conventional fields, but 11% in organic fields. Most lycosids were found in field edges (Marc et al. 1999). Clearly, human input is harmful to natural enemies, and the best spider conservation strategy may be non-intervention (Young & Edwards 1990; Maloney et al. 2003).
Traditional biological control efforts have focused on using specialist predators to control pest outbreaks, which Riechert & Lockley (1984) liken to “putting out fires rather than preventing their conception”. Encouraging natural enemy populations may have the effect of keeping pest levels low and not letting them get out of control. Spiders may be potential the helpful biocontrol agents because they are relatively long lived and are resistant to starvation and desiccation. Additionally, spiders become active as soon as conditions are favourable and are among the first predators able to limit pests. The risks associated with using natural enemies to control pests are minimal. Since diverse species of natural enemies are naturally present in an agricultural system (thus avoiding the problems associated with introductions) and predaceous at all stages of their development, they fill many niches, attacking many pest species at one time (Agnew & Smith 1989; Marc et al. 1999). Because they are sensitive to disturbance, natural enemies may best be used in perennial agroecosystems, such as orchards, that suffer the least disruption and human intervention (Riechert & Lockley 1984; Marc et al. 1999). Natural enemies do have the potential to be highly effective pest management agents, but the overall level of control is specific to each combination of crop and management style (Maloney et al. 2003).
Neem products are now widely acclaimed as broad-spectrum pesticides. Schmutterer & Singh (1995) listed 417 insect species as sensitive to neem. In the present era of biocontrol, safety concerns predominate the agro-ecosystem besides pest control. Since neem products are now on large-scale use, their safety to natural enemies has also become a debatable issue. In the case of microbial agents, NPV and Bt are the most successful commercial products. Neem products either pure, crude or commercial so far did not show any adverse effects when combined with NPV or Bt. Though combining neem products with antifeedant property and microbials with stomach poison activity is disputed, the vast volume of research work carried out reveals that the antifeedant principles of neem do not influence in any way the activity of the microbials inside the insect gut. The growth disrupting principles of neem were found to add to the activity inside the insect system along with microbial principles leading to quicker mortality to give a cumulative effect.
In the case of parasitoids, certain guiding principles are suggested in accordance with multi-array activities of neem products in insects. Parasitoids are also susceptible, when they come in direct contact with neem products. In such circumstances blanket application of neem products without understanding the behaviour of the parasitoid may adversely affect the beneficial capacity of the parasitoid. For example, the inundative release of the egg parasitoid
In the case of predatory insects, mites and spiders, certain degree of selectivity is nevertheless appararent, as adult insects show, no or relatively low sensitivity as in the case of earwigs, crickets, true bugs, beetles, lacewings and wasps. This can be explained by the fact that growth-disrupting compounds affect the first line juvenile instars of insects. The fecundity of neem-treated adult, predaceous parasitic insects and the fertility of their eggs are also not or only slightly affected by neem, in contrast to some phytophagous species. In some cases the predation efficiency may be reduced Nymphal/larval instars of beneficial insects are sensitive to neem products. When topically treated, reduction in food ingestion, delayed growth, difficulties in moulting, teretological and morphogenetic defects, reduced activity and increased mortality are normally observed in the laboratory. But, far less drastic or even no effects are observed under semi-field or field conditions. This is partly due to the fast breakdown of the active principles underfield conditions.
A desirable biological control agent is a predator that not only reduces pest densities, but also stabilizes them at low levels, while maintaining stable populations itself (Pedigo 2001). Stability in predator-prey systems is achieved by density-dependent responses of the predator to the prey. As prey populations increase, predation pressure should increase, and predation pressure should lessen as prey population decrease. Usually, the greater the importance of a given prey in the diet of a predator, the lower the population size the predator effectively controls. Density-dependent control is thereby affected by the functional response and the numerical response of the predator (Riechert & Lockley 1984; Morin 1999).
The reproductive response of spiders is less studied. Some spiders, especially web-weavers, do show an increase in fecundity with increasing amounts of prey ingested. Such spiders include
Competition, intraguild predation, and cannibalism can limit the aggregation response of spiders. Spiders are usually territorial and will compete for space and prey at high spider densities, limiting the number of spiders that can coexist in the same area. The result may be migration from a patch of high prey densities and, therefore, less pest control (Marc et al 1999; Marshall & Rypstra 1999). Intraguild predation predation upon members of the same trophic level is a major factor limiting aggregation and spiders’ pest control abilities (Fagan et al. 1998; Wise & Chen 1999).
The evidence to date suggests that insecticides derived from the neem tree are unlikely to cause substantial environmental damage and these products appear to be safer than synthetic neurotoxins. However, pesticides derived from neem are poisons and thus should be treated as such. Certain organisms are particularly sensitive to neem and this should be taken into consideration when contemplating their use (Maloney et al. 2003). Currently the development of new means for plant protection has different motivations. Three major groups are apparent: synthetic chemicals, genetically modified products and biological products. The present scenario of regulatory situation in different countries is not very clear and comprehensively laid down; therefore, NeemAzal has been taken as a specific example. An extract “NeemAzal” obtained from seed kernels of the Neem tree
The factors that influence effects of either neem products or pesticides on natural enemies (insects, mites & spiders) are type of solvent, soil type, moisture, percent organic matter, temperature, and time of day of spraying. Further, the microhabitat, hunting style, prey preference, and behavior of biocontrol agent also influence their response to pesticide application (Schweer 1988; Volkmar & Wetzel 1993; Krause et al. 1993; Marc et al. 1999). Wisniewska & Prokopy (1997) reported that if pesticides were only used early in the growing season, natural enemy populations increased. Presumably, spiders have a chance to recolonize the field if pesticide use ceases after early June. Spatial limitation of pesticides (such as only applying the pesticides to certain plants or certain plots) also results in higher natural enemy numbers, since they can move out of the treated areas and return when the chemicals dissipate (Riechert & Lockley 1984; Dinter 1986, 1995; Maloney et al. 2003). Comparative studies have been carried out on various beneficial organisms such predatory spiders and mites, providing important data on the impact of pesticides on agro-ecosystems (Sterk et al. 1999; Holland et al. 2000; Amalin et al. 2001; Olszak & Sekrecka 2008).
After the treatment with NeemAzal-T/S larvae suffer feeding and moulting inhibition and mortality; adults show feeding inhibition, infertility and to a lesser degree, the mortality. This specific mode of action is called “insectistatic”. These studies with NeemAzal definitely imply that this and several other developments in neem-bsed pesticides have convinced registration authorities not only in Europe and Asia but in USA and Canada as well and Neem has been included among reduced-risk pesticides. That is why main opportunities are seen as arising from the discovery of new leads from high-throughput screening of plant extracts. It is hoped that international harmonized approach will come into force with a uniform set of rules to encourage the development of plant-based products for rational and sustainable agriculture. Of course, the lead from neem-based products now already exists and should be followed globally in order to develop safe and standardized products. NP virus and Bt are highly compatible with neem products. Parasitoids/predators, pre-sampling and timing of application are necessary to avoid the ill effects of neem products, if any, on them. It is obvious that next years will look forward to IPM that will include natural enemies vis-à-vis other biopesticides synchronizing with ecological and behavioural aspects of pests (Landis et al. 2000).
El-Wakeil et al. (2012 unpublished data) studied effects of some insecticides on wheat insect pests (thrips, aphids,creal leaf beetle, click beetles, cicadas, bugs leafhopper and frit fly) and the associated natural enemies (dance flies, coccinellids, hover flies, lacewings, Staphylindis, predatory spider and wasp parasitoids) in winter wheat 2012 in central Germany. The sequential sampling plans (direct count, sweep net, sticky traps and water traps) were used and described in this research to provide an integrated method for less wheat insects. The results showed that both chemical insecticides (Karate and Biskaya) caused more mortality to wheat insects and their side effects were harmful to the natural enemies. On the other hand, neem treatments caused adequate mortality of insects and were safer to the natural enemies (Figs. 5 & 6).
Agricultural sustainability requires a focus on the long run, on intergenerational equity. It must be capable of meeting the needs of the present while leaving equal or better opportunities for the future. It must be ecologically sound and socially responsible as well as economically viable. It must also include, as much as possible, the element of local or regional production, and aim for a reasonable level of regional food security. It encourages a shortening of the distance between producers and consumers, to the benefit of both. In a local economy consumers have influence over the kind and quality of their food; they contribute to the preservation and enhancement of the local landscape. It gives everybody in the local community a direct, long-term interest in the prosperity, health, and beauty of their homeland (Buchholz & Kreuels (2009); Shoeb 2010; Cabral et al. 2011).
Organic farming falls under this broader classification of "sustainable agriculture." It is commonly thought of as farming without chemicals, and that is usually the case, but it is much more than that. Organic farmers try to farm holistically - that is, they design production systems that capitalize on the positive synergies among crops, soils, seeds, and animals, in such away that each element of the system promotes the productivity and health of other elements. The rapid growth of organic and sustainable agriculture in Canada is occurring with almost no support from the federal government, whose policies are almost entirely devoted to encouragement of industrial agriculture (El-Wakeil 2003). Other countries are heading in the opposite direction. The cornerstone of Egypt as well Germany's new agricultural policies will be sustainability.
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