“Natural predators are good pest control agents”

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“Natural predators are good pest control agents”

Study Shows Bugs Could Replace Pesticides

In a world grappling with the consequences of widespread pesticide use, a study offers a
compelling alternative – harnessing the power of natural predators like birds, beetles, and
bugs to keep crop-devouring pests at bay. The research, conducted by scientists from Brazil,
the United States, and the Czech Republic, suggests that these invertebrate predators could
effectively reduce pest populations by more than 70 percent while boosting crop yields by a
remarkable 25 percent.

As lead author Gabriel Boldorini, a PhD student at the Federal Rural University of
Pernambuco in Brazil, explained, “Natural predators are good pest control agents, and their
maintenance is fundamental to guaranteeing pest control in a future with imminent climate
change.” The study’s findings come at a crucial time when climate change and rising carbon
dioxide levels are altering crop yield and pest dynamics, expanding the distribution of pests
and increasing their survival rates.

While the researchers did not directly compare the effectiveness of invertebrates versus
pesticides, Boldorini emphasized the well-documented damage caused by pesticides to
ecosystems, biodiversity loss, water and soil pollution, and human health risks. In contrast,
the conservation of invertebrates “guarantees pest control and increased productivity,
without damaging ecosystems.”

Interestingly, the study revealed that natural predators were more effective at pest control in
regions with greater rain variability, a phenomenon expected to increase due to climate
change. Surprisingly, the researchers found that having a single species of natural predator
could be as effective as having multiple species, challenging the notion that more species
always equate to better ecosystem function.