Predators: A Biological Garden Pest Control Method

Biological pest control is an eco-friendly method of managing pests by using natural predators. It’s an alternative to chemical pesticides that can harm the environment and disrupt ecosystems. In this article, we will explore different types of predators used for biological pest control, their advantages, and how to implement them in your garden or farm.

Types of Predatory Insects

There are several insects that act as natural predators of pests. Some common examples include:


Ladybugs, also known as ladybird beetles, are voracious predators of aphids, mites, and other soft-bodied pests. They can consume up to 60 aphids per day, making them an excellent choice for biological pest control. Ladybugs are available commercially and can be introduced to your garden to help control pest populations.


Green lacewings are another beneficial insect for controlling pests. Their larvae, sometimes called “aphid lions,” are predatory and feed on a wide range of pests, including aphids, mites, and small caterpillars. Lacewings can be attracted to your garden by planting flowers that provide nectar and pollen, which adult lacewings consume.

Praying Mantises

These fascinating insects are efficient hunters that prey on a variety of pests, such as flies, caterpillars, and grasshoppers. Praying mantises are easily recognizable by their distinctive, elongated bodies and large, grasping front legs. They can be purchased as egg cases and released into your garden to control pests.

Ground Beetles

Ground beetles are nocturnal predators that hunt for slugs, snails, and other pests on the ground. There are thousands of species of ground beetles, many of which can be attracted to your garden by providing shelter, such as rocks or logs, and planting flowers that attract their prey.

Predatory Mites

Predatory mites are an effective control method for spider mites, a common pest that can cause significant damage to plants. These tiny predators consume large numbers of spider mites and can help keep their populations in check.


Nematodes are microscopic roundworms that can target specific pests, such as grubs or root-knot nematodes. They are applied to the soil as a liquid and can be a highly effective method of biological pest control.

Advantages of Biological Pest Control

Biological pest control offers several benefits, including:

Environmental Benefits

By using natural predators, you can reduce the need for chemical pesticides, which can harm non-target organisms, contaminate water sources, and contribute to pesticide resistance in pests.

Long-Term Efficacy

Predators can reproduce and establish themselves in your garden, providing ongoing pest control without the need for repeated pesticide applications.

Reduced Pesticide Usage

By effectively controlling pests using natural predators, we can significantly decrease our reliance on chemical pesticides. This not only makes our gardening practices more sustainable, but also safer for ourselves and the surrounding wildlife.

How to Implement Biological Pest Control

Implementing biological pest control involves two main steps: introducing predators and maintaining the ecosystem.

Introducing Predators

The first step is to introduce appropriate predators into your garden or farm. This can be done by purchasing them from a reputable supplier or attracting them naturally by providing suitable habitats and food sources.

Maintaining the Ecosystem

After introducing predators, it’s important to maintain a balanced ecosystem. This involves providing ongoing food sources and shelter for the predators, as well as avoiding the use of broad-spectrum pesticides that could harm them.


Can biological pest control completely replace chemical pesticides?

While biological pest control can significantly reduce the need for chemical pesticides, it may not completely eliminate their use. There may still be situations where chemical control is necessary, especially for large or severe pest infestations.

Are there any risks associated with biological pest control?

While generally safer than chemical methods, biological pest control does have potential risks. For example, introduced predators may become invasive if they have no natural enemies in the new environment. It’s important to use predators that are native or well-suited to your local area.

Can I use more than one type of predator in my garden?

Absolutely! In fact, using a variety of predators can be more effective, as different predators target different pests.

What is using a predator for controlling a pest?

Using a predator for controlling a pest is a method of biological pest control that involves introducing a natural predator into an ecosystem to control the population of a specific pest. This method is a more environmentally friendly alternative to chemical pesticides.

What is an example of a pest predator?

An example of a pest predator is the ladybird beetle (also known as ladybugs). Ladybirds are effective predators of aphids, which are pests that can damage crops by feeding on their sap.

Which animal is the best rodent pest biological control agent?

The best rodent pest biological control agent is the domestic cat. Cats are natural predators of rodents and can help to control their populations. However, it is important to note that cats can also pose a threat to native wildlife and should be managed responsibly.

What organisms are used in biological control of insect pests?

Organisms that are commonly used in biological control of insect pests include parasitic wasps, predatory mites, nematodes, and bacteria. These organisms can be used to control a variety of insect pests, including aphids, whiteflies, and mealybugs.

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