Historical Developments in Biological Control – Early history to 1888 (Ancient period)

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Historical Developments in Biological Control – Early history to 1888 (Ancient period)

The idea that the insects could be use intentionally to suppress the population of other insect is an ancient one. Charles Darwin recognized appearance of first insect primitive humans probably utilized insects as a part of their own field diet. It assumed that man himself recognized perdition at an early date by man himself. The discovery of agriculture and development during Neolithic time (about 1000 BC) put human kind into very direct competition with insect for food. Just as early as man observed birds eating insects, snake eating rodent, mice and rats eradicated by house cat by Egyptian.

“Historia Animalium” described the ravages the wax moth to honey comb. Later on Pliny (23-79 AD), a Roman author recognized several disease conditions in bees. Silkworm also suffers from various diseases and recognized as early as 1000 AD. The true biological suppression of insect pest in modern sense was practiced by Chinese citrus growers by introducing predaceous ants in to orchards to control citrus peat. In the old Chinese book ‘Wonder from Southern China’ (900 AD) refers that large yellow ants with long legs used to protect oranges from worms and ant’s nest was available for sale in village markets ‘Anton’ until 1939.

Ulysses Aldrovandis in his book “De Animalibus Insects” (1802) summarized all published literature on insects and included first published literature on insect parasitism. An attack of Gregarian parasitoid, Apanteles glomeratus of the cabbage butterfly was known. Francisco Redi (1860) described phenomenon of parasitism of aphid by an ichneumonids. Vallisnleri (1730) first noted unique association between parasitic wasps, A.glomerctus of cabbage butterfly. Rene Reanmur (1734) advanced the idea of biological insect suppression and suggested introducing the eggs of aphidivorous flies (lace wing) into green houses. A lady bird beetle, green lace using and wasp were also recommended for suppression of aphids. The first International Movement of predator was accompanied in 1762. The Indian ‘Mynali’ bird was introduced from India to Maurtius with a purpose of red locust control in sugarcane. Mitchill (1823) discussed various parasitic animals including hymenoptera form insects. Herrick (1840) discussed an egg and pupal parasitoid of hesion fly Asalitch (1845) proposed importation of parasitoids from England to America to control wheat midge. Agostina Bassi (1835), a pioneer insect pathologist first demonstrated the fungal nature of mustarding disease of the silk worm. Kirby and Spence (1867) recommended and used lady bird beetle for aphid control. They were also aware of usefulness of mantids, coccinlids, dragonflies, spiders etc.

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