Biopesticides are types of pesticides that are formed or derived through natural materials. These natural materials include minerals as well as plants, animals, and bacteria as well.
A good example can be baking soda and canola oil having some sort of pesticide uses and applications due to which they are considered to be biopesticides.
As a matter of fact, in 2016, there were 266 registered biopesticide active ingredients and around 1401 biopesticide product registrations. This shows how common the use of biopesticide might be in our daily lives.
The Different Classes of Biopesticides
There are three different classes of biopesticides:
1. Biochemical Pesticides
These are the pesticides that are naturally occurring substances. They are used for controlling the pests using the non-toxic mechanism instead of the toxic ones. Conventional pesticides are actually synthetic materials that tend to directly cause inactivity in any pest or even kill it.
The biochemical pesticides include the substance which leads to interference with mating between insects and reptiles, e.g., insect sex pheromones are affected.
Moreover, the various scented plants are also extracted that tend to attract the insect pest into the traps. Sometimes, there tends to be great difficulty in understanding and determining if the substance is coming off or meeting the criteria for classification and being known as a biochemical pesticide.
2. Microbial Pesticides
This is the second classification of biopesticide, and it consists of the microorganisms like bacteria, fungus, viruses as well as protozoans. The microorganism consists of is basically the active ingredient.
The microbial pesticide has the ability to control a lot of various kinds of pests. However, it is important to know that the separate active ingredients tend to be specific to target pests as compared to the other ones.
The microbial pesticides which are widely used consist mostly of the subspecies as well as strains of BT ingredients. These ingredients tend to control the moth larvae, which are found on many plants, as well as other such ingredients specifically for larvae of flies and mosquitoes.
If you want to determine the target species, make sure you try to understand the BT ingredients’ production of proteins and their uses and effects. Usually, the effects of the BT ingredients tend to be starvation of the insect larvae.
3. Plant Incorporated Protectants (PIPs)
These are pesticide substances that are produced by the plants from the genetic material which is added to the plant. A major example of this can be scientists using the gene of the BT pesticidal protein and then introducing the gene into the plant’s genetic material, which means it has been inserted into the plant.
In this case, the plant tends to manufacture the substance that causes the destruction of the pests. The regulation of t genetic material and protein is made by the EPA instead of the plant itself.
Advantages of Using Biopesticides
It is important to understand the uses and the advantages that biopesticides provide.
- Biopesticides are mainly inherited as less toxic than conventional pesticides, which tend to be used nowadays. Hence, if you want to buy a safe biopesticide, don’t go for the conventional ones.
- The biopesticides are generally used to affect the target pest only, instead of the different organisms which are usually harmed due to the conventional pesticides. The biopesticides tend to affect the target pests, and it’s closely related organisms instead.
- Biopesticides tend to be very effective in small quantities. This means that they often decompose quickly, which results in minimum or lower exposure. This helps avoid pollution and any other problems which might be caused by conventional pesticides.
- Whenever the biopesticide is used as the component of the IPM, i.e., the integrated pest management programs, that means that the biopesticides are becoming a way through which reduction of conventional pesticide uses is possible. This means that the crop yields would be high, and the environment can be saved as well.
There is one important thing that you should know, especially if you plan to use biopesticides. In order to use the biopesticides effectively and safely, make sure you know how to manage the pests and are experienced in following lab directions.
The Area of Uses of Biopesticides
We have discussed the classification as well as the advantages of using biopesticides. However, it is also important to know and understand where and why biopesticides are usually used.
The biopesticides tend to be used so that the invertebrate pests are managed, along with the plants, weeds, and pathogens are controlled as well.
When you become aware of this, it is also important to understand the examples of microorganisms, i.e., bacteria, fungi, yeasts, and viruses as well.
According to many types of research that have been conducted on the fungal species, it is found that the spores tend to be more environmentally stable and strong, and they can be managed easily as well.
This means they can be manipulated and amended as well. This can enable them to be applied with the convention spray systems as well. There is a lot more research that has occurred from time to time and is spent on undertaking the development as well as the registration and commercialization of products for pathogens and plants as well as pest species.
Disadvantages of The Biopesticides
Instead of this article being completely biased towards biopesticides, it is important to provide authentic and important information as well.
Even though biopesticides have been termed much better than conventional pesticides, there are still a few disadvantages of biopesticides that need to be understood and factored in.
- Biopesticides tend to have high specificity, as they require an exact identification of the pest or pathogen along with the usage of many products.
- As compared to conventional pesticides, biopesticides tend to have a slower speed, and it decomposes quickly.
- It often has variable efficacy because of the different biotic and abiotic factors’ influences and effects. It is important to understand that the living organisms tend to evolve and grow from time to time, to the resistance to chemical, physical, biological, and other forms of control can also increase.
- There might be unintended consequences that are being studied, and many studies found that broad-spectrum biopesticides might be lethal for non-target pests.
Conclusively, to date, many researchers have suggested that biopesticides are much better than the conventional methods of using pesticides. This is because biopesticides tend to target the pests and closely related organisms, whereas conventional pesticides might end up targetting the other organisms and insects as well.