I recently read an article in the Metero paper on how Indonesia is planning to release 3K wasps to help protect their crops from the invasive mealybug infestation that has already hit in country. This concept was interesting to me as they plan to use natural predators, natures own to fight off an invasive pest that threatens the populations scant food supply. Its smart because it is an alternative to using harmful chemicals which may unintentionally harm other organisms in the area, even decades later.
This isn’t the first time I read this though. Earlier this same week, my Marine studies professor posted a link on how the Atlantic coast is using the native Blue Crab, Callanectes sapidus to fight against the invasion of Green Crabs, Carcinus means. I encountered this crabs during my field course this summer and saw them everywhere but in all the readings i read this summer, nowhere had it mentioned that the green crab was an invasive species! I did not sea any Blue Crabs during my 2 week visit but now Im sure we will.
These articles prompted me to look up articles that may explain the use of natural predators on invasive pests as a invasive species management plan. Coincidentally, I found one written in 2007 on the use of the Blue crab against the Green crab! Link
I find it interesting and hopeful that scientists such as ourselves can come up with natural and safe ways to combat harmful invasive species such as the use of native predators to wither out compete or directly prey on invasive species. This is also known as IPC, Integrated Pest Control. This is a common thing in Australia, as i’ve heard they use viruses to combat exploding rabbit populations and predators to manage the invasive toad population they once experienced. Its much better to do this, than use harmful chemicals. I wish more of the world would look to these natural solutions!