Biological Control and Integrated Pest Management

Biological control and intergrated pest management aims to minimise crop damage and control unwanted organisms by using naturally occurring predators, parasites and diseases. With the pressure to reduce pesticide use and increase the sustainability of farming as well as manage harmful non-native species, more producers and land managers are looking towards biocontrol as a means to achieve these goals.


Biocontrol already forms an integral part of many integrated cropping systems but further research and development is needed if its full potential is to be realised and it is to be more widely implemented. Our Biocontrol Group includes specialists from all the main fields of biocontrol research and our goal is to encourage discussion and co-operation among members of this interdisciplinary topic.  

Link to the Consultation on the draft UK Action Plan for pesticides


(Written by Prof. Toby Bruce, Convenor, AAB Biocontrol & IPM Group) Aug 2012 


Link to European Weed Research Society Bio-control Group website


Link to Policy Briefing from the Biological Control Group - Feb 11


​Keith Walters

Keith Walters is an entomologist at Imperial College London whose research interests are organised under two well established and closely interrelated programmes of collaborative multidisciplinary work. The first focuses on the biology of insects and their interactions with the environment, and supports the development of sustainable IPM strategies (utilising conventional pesticides, biological agents and physical control methods) for use in agriculture and horticulture. In addition to yielding new insect management methods and IPM systems that have been adopted by industry, the research has also contributed to the mitigation of potential environmental damage resulting from chemical pollutants through the establishment of ecotoxicological hazards caused by, and reduced reliance on, xenobiotic inputs to the agri-environment. The second is focused on work at the science/policy interface, addressing the biology, impact assessment and policy response to quarantine pests and diseases introduced to the UK on the global trade in plants and plant products and, if they establish in the UK, the use of IPM techniques to contain and eradicate outbreak populations.

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Group Members

​Toby is a Prof of Insect Chemical Ecology at the School of Life Sciences at Keele University. He has a background in Biology and a PhD in Chemical Ecology. His research focuses on host location in insects, alarm and sex pheromone signals and induced plant defence. He has 50 scientific publications which include high impact journals such as PNAS and Trends in Plant Science. As well as advancing fundamental aspects of insect host location, he devises strategies for utilising semiochemicals for insect pest management at the field level ranging from plant activators that switch on plant defence to pheromone monitoring systems. He has very recently obtained national (BBSRC) funding for two IPM related projects, one on transgenic wheat emitting aphid alarm pheromone (BB/G004781/1) and the other on seed treatments to induce resistance to pests and diseases in tomato (BB/G021791/1). He supports a collaborative project on maize pests with Kenya and has organised an international conference on plant signalling in 2008.


School of Life Sciences, Keele University, Staffordshire, ST5 5BG

Tel: +44 (0)1782 733673

I am a microbiologist and entomologist, and conduct research into invertebrate microbial interactions. My main areas of interest are: entomopathogens and microbial control; ecology and physiology of entomopathogenic fungi; biopesticide regulation and governance; and Integrated Pest Management. I’ve worked at Warwick at HRI since 1990. Previous to this, I studied for a bachelor degree in biology at the University of Nottingham, followed by a PhD in mycology at Kings College London.

Rosemary's main interests are modelling interactions between insects and the environment, the host-plant finding behaviour of phytophagous insects and the development of Integrated Pest Management systems for the pests of field vegetable and bulb crops. Rosemary is a research entomologist based at Wellesbourne. She has developed weather-based forecasts of the timing of attack of several pests of field crops; four of which have been used commercially for a number of years. Rosemary is a former convenor of the International Organisation for Biological Control Working Group on Integrated Protection of Field Vegetables. She talks regularly to grower groups and writes topical articles for HDC News and similar publications.

Phil Morley

Phil Morley is a graduate of the University of Leeds where he completed his PhD in Plant Physiology and Nutrition in the 1990’s. Since then he has worked in the fresh produce glasshouse industry for almost 20 years. His work has concentrated on practical approaches to organic and pesticide free production in large scale commercial Tomatoes crops in the UK and mainland Europe. Phil is now the Technical Director of the British Tomato Growers’ Association and continues to work on a range of HDC funded applied research projects in glasshouse production which range from Pathology and Entomology through to soil biology, plant nutrition and physiology…

Charlotte Rowley

Charlotte is a crop protection scientist at AHDB (Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board) and is involved with the development of research programmes on integrated pest management, as well as tools and services aimed at helping farmers adopt IPM practices. She is responsible for a number AHDB-funded projects, which are focused on delivering applied research into the management of key agricultural and horticultural pests. Key to her role is working with colleagues in the industry to identify research priorities and disseminate outputs. Charlotte joined AHDB in 2018 following completion of her PhD in entomology at Harper Adams University. She also sits on the BCPC pests and beneficials working group and has a keen interest in agro-ecology and the environment.

Dick Shaw

Dick Shaw has worked in the biocontrol field with CABI since 1993 where he specialises in classical biological control of weeds using insect and fungal natural enemies from the area of origin of exotic invasive plant specices. Currently he is managing a programme against Japanese knotweed, Fallopia japonica which if successful would result in the first intentional release of a classical biological control agent against a weed in Europe


His main interest is in phytophagous arthropods and their host specificity as well as general biogeography and legislation. He has been a member of the biocontrol working group since 2003, and is an “AAB Ambassador”

Phil Walker

Phil has spent his entire career in Biological Control and was involved in the early adoption of biological control techniques by UK protected salad growers in the late 70’s.

He graduated in Applied Biology in 1975, then a one year post graduate qualification in Crop Protection. In his early career he worked in a number of small UK biological control companies, first in production of beneficial insects and mites, and then in field support. In 1989 Phil was a founding director of Biological Crop Protection Ltd, where he remained Technical and Marketing Director until BCP was sold to Mitsui & Co in 2004, whereupon BCP became part of the Certis Europe organisation. Phil is now an independent consultant, but is retained by what is now Certis BCP to advise on technical and industry matters.

During his career Phil has worked with a range of biological control organisms, primarily parasites and predators, but also B.t., entomopathic fungi, and entomopathic nematodes. His work has taken him to farms and nurseries in various European countries, and further afield to USA, Japan, and Africa, working in a range  of largely protected crops.  He has been an active member of the IOBC ‘Integrated control in protected crops’ working group since 1990. Phil was a past chairman of IBMA UK.

Xiangming Xu

I am a plant disease epidemiologist, and conduct research into epidemiology and management of diseases on various crops, primarily in top and soft fruit. In addition, I have also continuously engaged in theoretical studies of the spatio-temporal dynamics of plant disease epidemics. My current interest in biocontrol focuses on development of application strategies of commercial BCAs for effective control of plant diseases

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AAB Office:

The office staff are working remotely and can only be contacted via email. In the case of any urgent issues, please contact Carol at 02476 999484

Warwick Enterprise Park, Wellesbourne, Warwick CV35 9EF. Tel: +44 (0)2476 999486.

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