Good bugs eat bad bugs
Company relies on nature, not chemicals
April 2, 1996
Web posted at: 3:30 p.m. EST
From Correspondent Ann Kellan
TUCSON, Arizona (CNN) -- Rick Frey scoops up a handful of
maggots as if he were serving ice cream. (232K QuickTime movie)
"They think of this with some sort of dead animal," Frey
says, showing off the legless grub. "Maggots are very much an
important part of our life. In fact, we've designed our whole
business around producing maggots."
Frey's company, Arbico -- short for Arizona Biological
Control Inc. -- is causing quite a buzz. Arbico markets bugs
to be used for bio-balanced agriculture, a process in which
so-called beneficial insects fight off unwanted bugs by
Inside climate-controlled chambers, Arbico controls the life
cycle of millions of flies. The flies develop into larvae,
then maggots. After a few days they enter a cocoon-like
state, called pupae. At this point, Arbico introduces a "good
bug," a parasitic fly that lays eggs in the pupae.
Frey, Arbico's president, explains, "This little insect then
finds this stage of the fly pupae. The female then puts her
egg inside of it and that kills this stage of the fly."
The parasites then happily develop in the pupae as they
are shipped out to thousands of customers around the world.
Customers place the pupae containing the fly parasite
wherever "bad bugs" are causing problems. Nature then takes
As for Arbico, there's gold in them critters: $1 million in
sales a year. Customers can order anything from ladybugs to
earthworms through Arbico's catalog.
Race tracks and farmers are among Arbico's biggest clients.
For large areas, farmers might use a remote-controlled plane
to dust crops with helpful insects.
However, Arbico's primary customers are home gardeners.
Frey's own family uses ladybugs to fend off cabbage-eating
He simply says bio-balanced agriculture's time has come. (136K AIFF sound or
136K WAV sound)