Biological Control and Integrated Pest Management



Biological control and integrated 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. Vine Weevil header image from Eugenia Fezza.

Group Convener

Toby Bruce

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.

Group Members

Elysia Bartel

Elysia is a research entomologist at ADAS specialising in horticultural Integrated Pest Management, plant health, and agroecology, with nine years’ experience in the horticulture industry. Elysia’s research has focused on use of novel IPM techniques to benefit biodiversity and improve control of mites, midges, aphids, and other emerging pests such as ‘pot worm’ and Thrips setosus. Elysia is skilled in identification of horticultural pests, predators, and parasitoids and works closely with growers to identify pest problems and develop novel solutions. Prior to working for ADAS, Elysia helped manage a 50-ha organic vegetable farm, following a two-year Soil Association Future Growers apprenticeship.  Elysia is also a member of the British Protected Ornamentals Association Technical Committee and a member of the National Fruit Collection Advisory Committee.


Richard Shaw

Dick Shaw has worked for CABI for 26 years and is now the Senior Regional Director responsible for the running of CABI’s UK science sites in the UK, Switzerland, Brazil and Trinidad & Tobago which collectively absorbed the former CABI institutes of Parasitology, Entomology, Mycology and Biological Control. He is an applied entomologist, having completed both his MSc and PhD at University of London (now Imperial College) and specialises in Invasive Species.  Dick has a particular interest in invasive weeds and their management using biological control which is more sustainable and can be much more effective than conventional methods whilst operating at a much larger scale. As an entomologist in CABI he has a particular interest in arthropod pests and beneficials in the Developing World where CABI mainly operates.

Joshua Burnstone

Having completed an M.Sc. in Applied Entomology at Imperial College, Joshua moved to Warwick in 2005 to undertake a Ph.D. focusing on the biology and behaviour of Thrips tabaci. Having completed his thesis, Joshua joined Fargro in autumn 2010 as a Technical Development Specialist, and concentrated on running Fargro’s trials program, focusing on new products and biopesticides. Joshua became Technical Manager in 2016 and joined Fargro’s Board of Directors in 2018. He now runs Fargro’s Technical Department which provides detailed agronomic services and advice to growers nationwide and supports and markets a range of specialist plant protection products and solutions. Joshua has in the past been secretary of the UK branch of the International Biocontrol Manufacturer’s Association (IBMA), an advisor to the AHDB and is currently a member of the Agricultural Industries Confederation’s (AIC) Crop Protection and Agronomy Technical Group.

David Chandler

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.

Joe Roberts

Joe is an applied insect chemical ecologist whose expertise lies at the interface of ecology, biology and chemistry. My research focuses on using insect and plant derived semiochemicals to develop novel tools for sustainable management of phytophagous insect pests in global agricultural environments. I am also interested in developing data-driven approaches to inform integrated pest management decisions in horticultural production systems.

Kristina Grenz

Dr Grenz is a crop protection scientist in the AHDB’s IPM team, specialising in pests and weeds.  She is responsible for the research projects in BYDV as well as the Cereals and Oilseed’s Risk register, and assists with the RL disease ratings and fungicide performance. 

Rosemary Collier

Rosemary is a research entomologist at the University of Warwick and is based at the Wellesbourne Campus (Warwick Crop Centre). Her main interests are researching and 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 has developed weather-based forecasts of the timing of attack by several pests of field crops; most 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 and Chair of the UK Insecticide Resistance Action Group (IRAG).

Xiangming Xu

Xiangming is 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

Neil Ward

Neal is an IPM and Pollination Specialist at Biobest Group, living in the UK but working internationally (predominantly in the Far East) to provide technical support and education for Biobest’s customers. Neal’s PhD is in plant physiology, undertaken at the University of Reading. Following this AHDB-sponsored project he moved into industry, working as a technical manager for one of the UK’s largest pepper growers, where he was responsible for IPM. During this time, Neal was vice chairman of the AHDB Pepper Technology group and a member of the AHDB protected edibles funding panel. Working for Biobest, he remained on the panel as a science adviser, and continues to maintain close links with academia, acting as an industry supervisor on several PhD projects at Reading and Harper Adams.