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The Manual of Biocontrol Agents (5th Edition)

June 2014
304 Pages
ISBN 9781901396874

The British Crop Production Council (BCPC) is a non-profit-making organisation and for over 50 years it has developed an international reputation for sound science in the fields of agriculture, food and the environment. Its conferences, publications and working groups bring together scientists to form opinion on key issues and its website attracts more than 12,000 visitors a month seeking its opinions, products and services.

The Manual of Biocontrol Agents, first published as The BioPesticide Manual in 1998, in this new (5th) edition, has been substantially revised and updated to reflect the growth and maturity of the global biocontrol industry, which is predicted to reach $3.2 billion by 2017.

The new edition claims to contain details of all active substances or organisms that are available commercially in at least one (registered) product form. This may be true at the time of print but in such a fast moving industry, new products are being added all the time.

Over 200 commercially available active substances have initially been included under the now familiar groupings of macro-organisms, micro-organisms, botanicals and semiochemicals. Each section details the modes of action, key data on mammalian, ecological and environmental toxicology, target crops and pests.

Where there may still be gaps to be filled, comes in the listing of products. Whilst the launch promotion boldly claims the listing is up to date, accurate and comprehensive for over 200 active substances, this is not strictly true of the with regard to commercially available products and not in the printed Manual.

The BCPC has fortunately developed an online version of The Manual so if you want more up to date information, then the new on-line access is a must have option. With no apparent limitation on space, this option provides users with additional information on the products.

The on-line manual has also been developed for user-friendly access on different devices, including smart phones. In addition, with the immediacy of the internet, the online version should (provided it is well maintained) be updated throughout the year (no claim how often) to reflect major changes and regulatory impacts in the sector. At the time of going to print, products from 77 companies were featured.

The publication has been compiled by experts in the biocontrol industry and should be a valuable resource for all those involved in Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

With the unabridged title ‘A World Compendium – The Manual of Biocontrol Agents’ it is a bold publication that claims to cover all global markets. The rise of biocontrol in China and Asia generally (some Indian companies are covered), it may be that certain commercialised agents in some markets are not featured.

In this digital age, with knowledge and communication improving all the time, so too hopefully will the listing. Feedback is encouraged, so if as a user you spot inconsistencies or gaps, the editor and publishers would welcome these being highlighted.

From a pheromone perspective I noticed an absence of some major global mating disruption products. As the listing depends on products having full approvals, and with the regulatory situation in the EU being what it is, this may explain some obvious omissions.

For some active substances (eg macrobials) I noted that more than one company is listed, but for others it may be only one. To be included within the list of active substances, the publishers have to be confident of their regulatory status and have focused mostly on OECD countries. Recognising that the biocontrol industry is moving at a fast pace, the BCPC are, for the on-line manual, developing a facility to link product registrations with countries, noting the regulatory status – provision, national or EU etc. If successful, this should give the flexibility to deal with products that do not yet have full approvals and help plug any gaps.

So consider this as a bold attempt at listing all biocontrol active substances rather than a comprehensive listing of commercial products. The resource has considerable merit. With the need for regular updating, my preference would be to opt for the online version and send evidence of any gaps to the publishers to make it the valuable tool that it aims to be.

Reviewed in International Pest Control – July/August 2014 issue.


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Pesticide drift and the pursuit of environmental justice

Paperback, Hardback, e-book
296 Pages
ISBN 9780262516280

This book is really about environmental justice for those living on or near farm land which includes a large number of immigrant farmworkers, concerned about pesticide use in California and in particular the exposure of people to “pesticide drift”. However, although it mentions that pesticides can be distributed by vapour or spray droplets, it does not really differentiate between the fumigants, such as metham sodium or methyl bromide which are volatile organic chemicals (VOC) and spray drift of other types of pesticides, namely the more hazardous pesticides in the WHO Class I and II categories such as methamidophos and chlorpyrifos.  Despite California being where integrated pest management was first noted, considerable quantities of pesticides are still used there, with most in the Central Valley, where 25% of all the pesticides used in the USA are applied on 2-3% of all farmland.

In assessing the scope and severity of pesticide drift in California, there were 2567 confirmed cases under the Pesticide Illness Surveillance Program (PISP) over a 10 year period (19982007), with nearly a third of these in one county. In the book it does not indicate the cause of these illnesses although California also has a Pesticide Usage Reporting System (PUR), or whether aerial spraying is the main cause of spray drift.  A Spray Drift Task Force developed by Industry to meet requirements for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not mentioned in a chapter on the crop protection industry, which is seen to promote chemicalintensive crop protection. In the chapter on The Environmental Regulatory State, the EPA is criticised for allowing volatile fumigant pesticides to be applied by sprinkler irrigation and that investigators of pesticide illnesses failed to identify any regulatory violations. The anti-pesticide drift activists look to the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) which has promoted a “Drift Catcher” to sample spray to obtain data to press for regulatory reform, but no mention is made of Drift Reduction Technology or improved impermeable sheets to retain fumigants in treated soil. They argue in favour of the precautionary principle that has been adopted within Europe and an alternative agrifood movement, which relies on local food systems and ‘organic’ farming.

The author concentrates on the injustice of exposing farm workers and all who live in farming areas to the downwind movement of toxic pesticides. It is a pity that in confining the text to the situation in California, there is very little mention about similar problems – the catastrophe at Bhopal is noted – and the advances made in regulations to minimise spray drift and removal of the most toxic pesticides from lists of approved products elsewhere.  The Stockholm Convention and Montreal Protocol get only a brief mention despite being instrumental in focussing on the persistent organic pollutants and the volatile pesticides such as methyl bromide. An opportunity to educate readers on a more global scene was missed.

Review by Graham Matthews

Review published in International Pest Control – January/February 2014 issue

From $10.75 / £9.95

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Climate Change and Insect Pests: CABI Climate Change Series

Climate Change and Insect PestsOctober 2015
292 Pages
ISBN 9781780643786

Insects, being poikilothermic, are among the organisms that are most likely to respond to changes in climate, particularly increased temperatures. Range expansions into new areas, further north and to higher elevations, are already well documented, as are physiological and phenological responses.

It is anticipated that the damage by insects will increase as a consequence of climate change, i.e. increasing temperatures primarily. However, the evidence in support of this common "belief" is sparse. Climate Change and Insect Pests sums up present knowledge regarding both agricultural and forest insect pests and climate change in order to identify future research directions.

£75 / €100.00 / $145

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