Biological control agents

Biological control agents (or BCAs) are a way of managing pests, such as weeds and insects, safely, sustainably, and cost-effectively.

Biological control (or biocontrol) involves the use of biological control ‘agents’, or BCAs. These agents are introduced into the environment to target a pest species, with the aim of reducing the pest's population or abundance in the environment.

Biological control is increasingly being recognised as an essential component of integrated pest management systems, and contributes significantly to sustainable pest control.

Reducing reliance on chemicals

Weeds are one of the most intractable pest problems in New Zealand and have massive adverse effects on productive land, natural habitats, and taonga species.

Biological controls reduce reliance on conventional pest controls such as herbicides and pesticides, which may be prohibitively expensive to control pests over widespread areas, and which can also result in reduced productivity and biodiversity loss.

Assessing the risks

We have developed world-leading qualitative risk assessments to analyse and weigh up environmental, economic, societal, human health, and cultural values into a decision-making framework for using new biological control agents in New Zealand. 

Weed biological control agents approved for use in New Zealand Plus