Biological Control

Program Details:

The Biological Control Program is a unit within the Integrated Pest Control Branch, and an integral part of the Department's Division of Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services. The Biological Control Program helps to minimize the economic and environmental impact of noxious invasive weeds and exotic insect pests by facilitating the importation and establishment of their co-evolved natural enemies. Implementation requires the rearing of appropriate natural enemies, testing them for host specificity, their release into the state, and evaluation of their impacts in agricultural, natural, and urban environments. The Program's responsibilities are statewide.

The Program's facility is in northern California, in Sacramento, the State’s capital. It shares a campus with the Department's Plant Pest Diagnostics Center and the Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry. The current Biological Control Program facility houses two senior scientists, two permanent support staff, and two or more temporary, part-time staff. There are two stand-alone greenhouses, and a shared larger greenhouse. The staff have several on-going projects targeting 18 invasive pests (Table 1). Most of these projects are conducted in cooperation with other county, state, and federal agencies, as well as international institutions overseas. Funding of the program comes primarily from the State's general fund but is also supported by Federal and Industry funding in the form of grants, agreements, and contracts.

TABLE 1. List of active projects for pest weeds and insects.


Target Pest Imported Natural Enemies Inception of Project
Yellow star thistle
(Centaurea solstitialis)
Ceratapion basicorne 2020
Scotch broom
(Cytisus scoparius)
Exapion fuscirostre
Bruchdius villosus
Aceria genstar
Japanese knotweed
(Fallopia japonica)
Aphalara itadori 2021
(Ulex europaeus)
Sericothrips staphylinus 2020
Russian knapweed
(Rhaponticum repens)
Aulacidea acroptilonica 2014
Water hyacinth
(Eichhornia crassipes)
Megamelus scutellaris 2010
Diffuse knapweed
(Centaurea diffusa)
Larinus minutus
Bangasternus fausti
Sphenoptera jugoslavica
Spotted knapweed
(Centuarea stoebe)
Larinus minutus
Terellia virens
Cyphocleonus achates
Urophora ffinis
Urophora quadrifasciata
Giant reed
(Arundo donax)
Tetramesa romana 2010
Canada thistle
(Cirsium arvense)
Hadroplontus litura
Pucinnia punctiformis (new)
Salt cedar
(Tamarix spp.)
Diorhabda carinulata 2015


Target Pest Imported Natural Enemies Inception of Project
olive fruit fly
(Bactrocera oleae)
Psytallia spp.
olive psyllid
(Euphyllurae olivina)
Psyllaephagus euphyllurae
brown marmorated stink bug
(Halyomorpha halys)
Trissolcus japonicus
cereal leaf beetle
(Oulema melanopus)
Tetrastichus julis
bagrada bug
(Bagrada hilaris)
Trissolcus spp.
Pink hibiscus mealybug
(Maconellicoccus hirsutus)
Anagyrus kamali
Gyranusoidea indica
Tomato leafminer
(Tuta absoluta)
Dolichogenidea gelechiidivoris (Braconidae) 2020
Diamondback moth
(Plutella xylostella)
Diadegma semiclausum (Ichneumonidae) 2021

Contact Us

Integrated Pest Control Branch
Biological Control Program
3294 Meadowview Road
Sacramento, CA 95832

Projects & Resources