Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

If and when successful classical biological control fails.

Abstract

Classical biological control of insects has a long history of success, with high benefit-cost ratios. However, most attempts to introduce a biological control agent have been unsuccessful, largely because the agent does not establish in the new environment. This perspectives paper discusses the possibility that even successful biological control may eventually fail, although records show that this is far from a common event. A documented example of eventual biological control failure is discussed and the prospect for future failures analyzed. Part of this analysis is based on an introduced weevil pest in New Zealand and its successful parasitoid biological control agent. The potential fragility of this host-parasitoid relationship is considered, as well as why it may indeed be starting to show signs of instability; this is particularly from the point of view of New Zealand's often species-poor agricultural ecosystems.