269. Derived from : Legner, E. F. 2008. Biological Pest Control: A History. Encyclopedia of Pest Management, 17 Nov; 1:1, 1-4. Taylor & Francis, NY.
Biological pest control might have been recognized circa 400 BCE in China with the correct interpretation of behavior and development of predators, but F. Redi in 1668 observed that arthropods do not arise by spontaneous generation (DeBach & Rosen 1991). Van Leeuwenhoek in 1700 proposed that parasitoids and pathogens might be essential to the natural control of pests. However, it was R. Réaumur in 1734 that suggested such organisms be used as a direct pest control tactic. He advised the release of lacewings in greenhouses for the control of aphids.
Earlier observations by ordinary farmers certainly led to an appreciation of the action of predators, as predation is obvious and easily viewed. Indeed, pest control was attained in Egypt by 2,000 BCE when humans kept cats to protect stored grain from rodents. In China citrus growers used Oecophylla smaragdina Fab. for the control of lepidopteran and coleopteran pests in 324 BCE. The ants build nests in trees and these were collected and sold to growers. In order to aid the foraging of ants, bamboo bridges were built between the citrus trees. DeBach (1974) observed this practice still being used in North Burma in the 1950s, and it continues to be used in China. Other efforts deployed general predators such as the mongoose, owls and other birds, toads, ants, etc.