Biological Control

The negative environmental and health-related effects of the use of pesticides have resulted in a policy shift to reduce the use of those pesticides that are the most harmful. Biological control is one tool that can be utilised to a greater extent in Northern Ireland and Ireland to reduce the use of pesticides and still manage high impact invasive species. Biological control is a pest control strategy making use of living natural enemies, antagonists or competitors and other self-replicating biotic entities.  This strategy is based on the use of natural enemies of the pest species.

If you wish to release a biological control agent, or any animal species, into the wild in Ireland or Northern Ireland you will require a licence to do so. Contact NPWS or NIEA for more information on the licencing application system which must be followed under current legislation.

The following report reviews the legislation and policy surrounding biological control in both Northern Ireland and Ireland. At present, there is no dedicated piece of legislation governing the release of biological control agents in Ireland or Northern Ireland.

The following links provide the presentation for the meeting convened by Invasive Species Ireland to help inform the report. Note that these files are over 10 MB in size:

  1. Licensing non-native biological control agents: the English way – Sarah Hugo, FERA
  2. Insect biology and host range: risk assessment in biological control РJan-Robert Baars, UCD
  3. Classical biocontrol of Japanese knotweed in a European Nation: an educational experience - Richard Shaw, CAB International
  4. Introducing an environmentally safe and operator friendly zebra mussel control strategy – Frances Lucy, Sligo IT