Location: Raleigh, NC
Contact: Lab Director, Ron Weeks
The Biological Control Program focuses on developing technologies that support the safe use of parasitoids, predators, herbivores, and pathogens to help mitigate the impacts of introduced invasive weeds and plant pests, while minimizing impacts on the environment and non-target organisms. We provide technical oversight, project coordination and facilitation, and expertise to the biological control program to identify scientific knowledge gaps in support of emergency response efforts and economic and environmental pests of concern. We coordinate technical support for the implementation and transfer of protocols to the field and stakeholders. We work with USDA-ARS, USFS, universities and other entities to discover and evaluate new biological control agents for agricultural pests. Key project functions include: conducting natural enemy surveys, developing cost-effective rearing and monitoring systems for approved biological control agents and their hosts, providing permitted biological control agents (collected from foreign exploration or established field insectaries) to PPQ and other project cooperators for distribution, and working to ensure the safety of biological control.