PLV330 Biological control -interactions between insects, plants and natural enemies

Credits (ECTS):5

Course responsible:Lene Sigsgaard

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Engelsk

Limits of class size:30

Course frequency:Annually

Nominal workload:125 hours

Teaching and exam period:This course is taught in January block.

About this course

Sustainable pest management requires an ecologically based understanding of pest biology and life cycle in relation to plants, their natural enemies, and cropping systems. The course will focus on management of insects and mites on plants based on insect ecological methods and use of biological control. Topics covered will include: interactions between plants, pests and their natural enemies at scales from individual to landscape; biological control strategies with cases of practical application, natural enemy groups (predators, parasitoids, microorganisms); intercropping, crop diversity and pest management; conserving natural enemy biodiversity to improve biological control; ethics, legislation and risk assessment.

A limited set of experiments and demonstrations related to biological control. Options may vary from year to year. Examples are: Predator-prey interactions (behaviour); The effect of temperature/diet/host plant on insect herbivore or predator; demonstration of how insect use volatiles (electroantennogram/ wind tunnel)

The students that would like to specialize in the topic can do a Term paper (PJH360) in addition.

Learning outcome


  • Describe the principles and methods of monitoring insect pests of crops
  • Describe the main methods to prevent and control insect attacks
  • Describe and understand the strategies used in integrated pest management and biological control
  • Know and characterize the main types of organisms currently used for, or of future potential for biological control


  • Collect and analyse monitoring results and work out and communicate a decision background for growers
  • Ability to select an organism for biological control in a specified system
  • Ability to select relevant methods to study the interactions between natural enemies, target prey/host and environment, and to analyse results
  • Ability to analyse and decide about potential risks using biological control or other management method both in a specified system and in a more general context


  • Propose control strategies for a given insect or mite by utilizing general knowledge and skills achieved in the course about pest and natural enemy interactions in cultivated systems. Ability to transfer the knowledge into other decision processes involving cross disciplinary elements, for example: biology, crop systems’ management, and ethics
  • The subject will be discussed in lectures, exercises and seminars.
  • The responsible teacher will be available for consultations
  • At least one of the following: PLV200, PLV210, ZOOL220, ZOOL240, BOT130, ECOL100 or similar
  • Oral exam counts 100%.

  • Use of external examiner
  • Participation in exercises and seminars.
  • This course is under revision, changes may occur.
  • Lectures: approx. 30 hours. Exercises: approx. 6 hours. Seminars: approx. 8 hours
  • M-PV, M-BIOL
  • Biological science