Message from Dragonfli
Zoos can often face many of the challenges that public and botanic gardens do with regard to insect pest control. Not only are plant collections at risk, but animal collections can also be affected.
Plant collections on sites that might be in enclosures or indoors with heating will often provide ideal breeding sites for insect pests. The presence of animals and livestock makes the use of chemical insecticides difficult and means potentially closing areas to visitors. This is where the use of beneficial insects for insect pest control can provide a chemical free solution and prevent the need to close areas for insecticide treatments. The use of beneficial insects on site can also be turned into an added visitor attraction or provide an opportunity for interpretation.
It is not only the plant collections that could benefit from the expansion of biological control. For example, tiny predatory mites can be introduced to snake and reptile vivaria for the control of snake mite. Other predatory mites can be introduced to tropical bird collections to control red mite and house flies in monkey enclosures can be treated with a fly parasite.
Biological control specialists, Dragonfli, are looking for zoos in the UK to evaluate these new products and practices so if you’re interested in being involved, please contact Julian Ives (tel: 01376 563322).