What are Biopesticides – How Effective are They?


Biopesticides are a type of pest deterrent that is made from natural ingredients taken a right from nature.

Instead of manufactured, hazardous chemicals, you can get rid of pests using minerals, extracts, microbes, and other components of plants.

Because of this, they tend to be gentler to the environment without sacrificing effectiveness against plants than chemical or other synthetic options.

Types of Biopesticides

Biopesticides come in various different types.

Some of the most common ones include:

1- Biochemical Pesticides

These are natural compounds that inhibit the mating, feeding, growth, or development of pests.

For instance, using insect pheromones will stand in the way of the mating rituals of insects, while an insect growth regulator taken from neem tree seeds will get in the way of the molting and feeding of as many as 200 species of insects.

2- Fungal Biopesticides

This type of pesticide doesn’t need to be ingested to kill the pests; it is enough for them to come into contact with it.

Fungal Biopesticides are often made using fungal spores that can be sprayed easily onto plants.

An example is Beauveria bassiana, a fungus in the soil that can kill a variety of pests in only a few days.

Fungi found in Trichodermais may also help mitigate plant diseases by invading harmful fungi in the roots of the plants to enhance their strength and growth.

Examples of Biopesticides

3- Bacterial Biopesticides

These pesticides have to be ingested by the insects or the larvae to kill them.

They are most commonly ingested and then paralyze the insect.

Bacillus thuringiensis is one of the most common examples of bacterial biopesticides. It kills the larvae of insects by creating a toxin that sticks to the stomach cells of the larvae.

Another good example is the soil bacterium Agrobacterium radiobacter Strain K84, which keeps crown gall disease in check.

4- Plant-Incorporated Protectors

Biopesticides can also be taken from genetic material that comes from various kinds of plants.

These plants naturally generate materials needed to create the pesticide needed to protect against certain kinds of pests.

One of the most common instances of this is incorporating Bacillus thuringiensis into the pesticide.

Here, the biopesticide comes in the form of the protein that is taken from the gene of the Bacillus thuringiensis instead of the entire bacterium.

How Effective are Biopesticides?

As pointed out by epa.gov, biopesticides are less toxic compared to conventional pesticides.

Plus, these are considered to be quite effective and safe as they only kill a certain range of pests and plant diseases.

On the other hand, synthetic chemical pesticides kill a larger variety of organisms, regardless of whether they are beneficial or harmful.

To be effective, a biopesticide needs to be applied at the right time during the life cycle of the insect or the disease stage of the plant.

To accelerate the activity of the biopesticides and make them more cost-effective, sometimes the biopesticide organism will be modified, such as in the case of including a neurotoxin gene that targets specific insects in the fungi.

The Conclusion

Biopesticides are an excellent alternative to chemical options, as they can target only the insects you want to kill and none of the beneficial ones you don’t want to harm.

If you haven’t tried them yet, going through the above types and examples will hopefully help you get more information about them.

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