BINGO focuses on the sustainable and efficient use of biological control agents to reduce the impact of invasive and endemic agricultural pests. Biocontrol is considered a promising route to control crop pests that will significantly reduce, or even abolish, the use of chemicals in agriculture.
Biocontrol has had remarkable successes, however, there are two key issues to be addressed:
- The practice that the natural enemies of introduced pest are imported from where they are endemic might cause threats to the local biodiversity in general, and to the local natural enemies in particular.
- The room for improvement of the current repertoire of natural enemies is limited as no systematic exploration and incorporation of natural genetic variation has been implemented.
The basis of the Research Projects (RPs) in BINGO is laid down by the focus on quantifying, describing and exploiting natural genetic variation that will be put at the service of dealing with the challenges in integrated pest control. Tailored for each environment-crop-pest-natural enemy combination, these are, improvements in rearing, monitoring, and performance. The RPs are grouped in four Research Training and Development work packages (WP4-7) that are structured along current biocontrol challenges: rearing & storage (WP4), monitoring & risk assessment (WP5), and performance (WP6), for all of which population genomic approaches (WP7) are explored and implemented in the BINGO research programme.