Biological control of weeds

Biological control involves the release of a weed plant’s natural enemies. These enemies, known as biocontrol agents, can limit a plant’s growth, reproduction and spread by affecting:

  • various parts of a plant:
    • roots
    • crown
    • leaves
    • stem
    • flowers
    • seeds
  • different stages of a plant’s lifecycle:
    • early growth,
    • flowering
    • seeding.

Successful biological control will reduce the vigor and abundance of the targeted weed. It’s unlikely that complete weed eradication would occur.

Benefits of weed biocontrol

Biological control is considered to be a highly cost effective weed management method. In Australia, every $1 invested in weed biocontrol has seen a return of $23 to the economy1.

Related information

Weed biological control methods and agents

Biocontrol of weed species in SA

Biocontrol history

National biological control recording and distribution

1 Page, A.R., Lacey, K.L., (2006). ‘Economic impact assessment of Australian weed biological control’. (CRC for Australian Weed Management, Adelaide).

Page Last Reviewed: 22 Jul 2015
Top of page