The use of biological control agents has increased in plant production and will increase even more also in open fields as the popularity of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) increases. International standards are utilised in the implementation of control in order to ensure the safe use of control agents and pollinators.
Biological control agents and pollinators, or macro-organisms, refer to invertebrates. Biological control agents are parasites or predators, which feed on plant pests.
Control agents can be:
- or nematodes.
They can be used in commercial farming in greenhouses or open fields, and also by gardening enthusiasts in their home gardens.
Pollinator species are primarily insects of the superfamily Apoidea, such as honey bees and bumble bees.
- Bumble bees are normally used as pollinators for greenhouse plants,
- and honey bees as pollinators for open field plants.
The responsibility for the approval and control of microbial products used for plant protection purposes (fungi, bacteria and viruses) rests with the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency Tukes.
Finnish Food Authority and Tukes are responsible of surveillance
The approval of authorities is needed for macro-organisms before they can be marketed, used or imported. Approval can be applied for by a company, an agent of a company or a farmer. The approval application or the notification of macro-organism products is submitted to Finnish Food Authority.
A precondition for the granting of approval is that the control agent or pollinator does not constitute a risk to plant health. A notification is enough, if the species is original in Finland or included in the list of the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO).
Finnish Food Authority maintains a file of approved biological control agents and pollinators. The file will be available on this site after notifications have been submitted of the first species or approval has been applied for them. The products listed in the file may be used for the indicated applications.