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Home / Guide Collections / Agricultural Research Service Biological Control Documentation Center Collection

Agricultural Research Service Biological Control Documentation Center Collection

Agricultural Research Service Biological Control Documentation Center Collection Introduction

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Biological Control Documentation Center Collection contains materials relating to biological control research conducted within the branches and divisions of the ARS. The majority of the records are from the late 1930s to the early 1990s. Biological control is the study of using insects, parasites, and predators instead of chemical insecticides to control insect populations and ensure that they do not grow too large. The collection is 145 linear feet and occupies 321 boxes. The materials are in good condition. The collection can be viewed and used at Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, Maryland. This collection was arranged and described by Amanda Nelson in 2010.

The records were collected donated by Jack R. Coulson throughout his career working at many of the branches and divisions of ARS that dealt with biological control. Some of the records donated with the ARS Biological Control Documentation Center Collection were separated and accessioned as smaller collections because they were related to biological control but not directly part of this collection. These collections are the International Organization of Biological Control Collection, membership records and journal abstracts of the nonprofit organization and the Jack R. Coulson Papers, his personal papers and editing contributions to biological control articles. Books accompanying the manuscript materials are held in Special Collections.


Special Collections of the National Agricultural Library (NAL) acquires, arranges, describes, preserves and makes available rare materials significant to the history of agriculture. Materials are obtained through donation or active collection in accordance with the established Special Collections collection development policy. Special Collections staff organize and describe materials according to archival principles and create descriptions and indexes to enhance access. Staff do not edit or otherwise modify the original materials. The views expressed in the collections do not necessarily reflect the policies of the National Agricultural Library or the United States Department of Agriculture.

Organizational History

1934: Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine (BEPQ) was created.

1953: Agricultural Research Service (ARS) was established and BEPQ was abolished.

1954: Insect Identification and Parasite Introduction (IIPI) Research Branch was formed under ARS. Staff conducted foreign exploration research and maintained all ARS biological control quarantine-receiving stations in the United States. Three foreign locations initially reported to IIPI one of which was the European Parasite Lab (EPL).

1964: Biological Control of Insects Research Laboratory (BCIRL) in Columbia, Missouri was created. The mission of BCIRL was to discover, develop and refine principles and methods to effectively use biological control agents for the management of pest populations of insects and weeds. Specifically included in this mission were evaluation and enhancement of the activity, safety and production of effective beneficial pathogens, parasitoids and predators for biological control. BCIRL objectives were part of the larger ARS initiative to integrate the use of biological control agents into sustainable pest management systems.

1975-1993: Asian Parasite Laboratory (APL) was reestablished with the help of special funds for ARS biological control research on the gypsy moth. It was located in Seoul, South Korea and sponsored by the Beneficial Insect Introduction Branch (BIIB), Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Administrative responsibility was provided by the International Programs Division of the ARS, USDA. Objectives were to conduct research, to evaluate natural enemies (parasites, predators, and pathogens) as potential biological control agents, and to collect and export beneficial agents to the United States. The principal pest insect was the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar japonica), but natural enemies of a variety of other pests were to be investigated as time permitted.

1980s: North American Invasive Arthropod Database (NAIAD) and Western Hemisphere Invasive Arthropod Database (WHIAD), part of ARS and the Biosystematics and Beneficial Insects Institute were created. They were originally two separate databases with WHIAD being created first, but the two were later combined to create NAIAD.

Scope and Content Note

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Biological Control Documentation Center Collection includes correspondence, unpublished reports, research reports, grant applications, publications, shipping records, databases, photographs, and videotapes. The materials cover the time period from 1860 to 1998 with the majority from the 1930s to the late 1980s. Most of the material is original with some copies of published publications that may be available elsewhere.

The materials in the fifteen series of records are research documents and reports on the development of biological control which were written by ARS employees. The collection is arranged alphabetically by laboratory/division in which the research was done or by type of record if multiple agencies are represented. Many of the series based on laboratory/division is separated into subseries based on the types of records found in the series. The collection gives an in-depth look at the growth and changes to biological control research around the world and the major research projects, such as control of the gypsy moth, that have shown the success of biological control.

Series Description

Series I. Asian Parasite Laboratory (APL). 1927-1993. 20 boxes.

This series includes correspondence, reports, and files created by the Asian Parasite Laboratory (APL) in Seoul, South Korea during their years of operation. The work of many of the prominent scientists who worked with the APL during this time is represented. Some of the APL records are located in Series VIII. Shipping Records with the shipping records of the APL.

  • Subseries I.A. Correspondence. 1963-1993. 16.5 boxes.

    There are letters to and from the Asian Parasite Laboratory staff and individuals, laboratories, and universities worldwide. Many of the letters are either to or from four employees: Robert W. Pemberton (Director), Robert W. Carlson (Location Leader), David K. Reed (Location Leader), and Paul W. Schaefer. Most of the correspondence is in English but there are some letters in other languages. The series is arranged alphabetically by last person's last name. Within each file, the most recent correspondence is at the front of the folder.

  • Subseries I.B. Miscellaneous Files and Reports. 1927-1988. 3.5 boxes.

    Files on various projects and people associated with the Asian Parasite Laboratory. Folders contain background information, related correspondence, and published articles regarding the title on the file folder. Much of the correspondence was with David K. Reed (Location Leader). Files are in original order.

Series II. Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine (BEPQ). 1925-1981. 41 boxes.

This series includes correspondence, reports, and files created by the Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine in regards to its worldwide biological control projects. A large majority of the series is from the Division of Foreign Parasite Introduction and the man in charge of the division, Curtis P. Clausen. There are materials from other divisions present and they are noted accordingly on the file folder titles.

  • Subseries II.A. Correspondence. 1927-1960. 18.5 boxes.

    This subseries includes correspondence between employees in various divisions of the BEPQ and many laboratory and division heads. Much of the correspondence is either to or from Curtis P. Clausen (In Charge, Division of Foreign Parasite Introduction). The records are arranged by who sent or received the letters. The majority is from the Division of Parasite Introduction, followed by specific scientist correspondence, other divisions of the BEPQ, Chief and Assistant Chiefs of the BEPQ, projects or the scientists working on them, and lastly foreign parasite shipping requests.

  • Subseries II.B. Special Reports and Miscellaneous Files. 1925-1981. 22.5 boxes.

    Subseries includes reports, both published and unpublished, and other miscellaneous files related to the projects worked on by the BEPQ. There are quarterly and annual reports of various divisions within the BEPQ and the BEPQ as a whole, as well as at the end of the series are miscellaneous maps showing various insect and parasite release locations across the United States. The materials are often arranged by either division or location with the type of insect or parasite worked with (i.e. Fruit insects) and then chronologically. Other materials are described with the type of record followed by the creator or date chronologically.

Series III. Biocontrol Documentation Center Files. 1938-1998. 162.5 boxes.

Series includes correspondence, reports and miscellaneous files from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Biological Control Documentation Center. Included are records from different working groups, divisions, and projects within the Biological Control Documentation Center. These include: Working Group on Natural Enemies (WGNE); Working Group on Biological Control Agents (WGBCA); Agricultural Research Institute (ARI); Foreign Exchange Agreements; Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Stations; Overseas Laboratories; Quarantine Laboratories; Other Domestic Stations; European Stations; Domestic Facilities; Agricultural Research Service Stations: Correspondence (both foreign and domestic stations); Agricultural Research Service Memoranda of Understanding; Agricultural Research Service Reorganizations; Correspondence and Reports with other agencies (Domestic and Foreign); Environmental, Safety, and Regulatory Issues; Permits; Vouchers; Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) Small Farms Projects; Agricultural Research Service National Heliothis Program; Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) / Agricultural Research Service Grasshopper Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Project; International Activities Office (IAO); Project Lists (PL) 480; Project Lists (PL) 480 Publication Files; International Organization on Biological Control Global; Entomological Society of America Conference and Publications on mass rearing natural enemies; other bound volumes.

Series IV. Conferences and Joint Projects. 1958-1988. 13 boxes.

This series contains correspondence, work orders, forms, papers, remarks, general information, ballots and publications detailing conferences and projects between the United States and international partners. The series has been arranged into subseries based on the country involved.

  • Subseries IV.A. China. 1958-1988. 1 box.

    This subseries includes correspondence, reports, and work orders from research trips to the People's Republic of China (PRC) by American scientists and and for conferences that occurred. Records are arranged based on specific trips, such as the trip on Southern Corn Leaf Blight, or chronologically as all of the records are from the middle to late 1980s.

  • Subseries IV.B. Laurel Conference. 1983-1984. 6 boxes.

    Subseries has records and general information pertaining to a national biological control workshop and conference in 1984. Most of the materials are blank and completed forms filled out by biological control scientists asking for feedback on criteria for how to develop a prioritized research list of arthropod pests. Additionally, there are the lists and summaries for each category of pests based on the forms filled out and discussions at the conference. Ballots are available to see how the scientists voted when determining these biological control research lists. Furthermore, there are forms for prioritizing research for weeds in the United States. The records are arranged based on the type of information or category of arthropod pest.

  • Subseries IV.C. Soviet/American Conference. 1966-1981. 1.5 boxes.

    Subseries covers papers, remarks, and correspondence from the Joint American-Soviet Conference on Use of Beneficial Organisms in the Control of Crop Pests in 1981. Most of the records are communication between the authors of the papers and Jack Coulson, who was in charge of putting together a publication of the proceedings. There are both drafts and final drafts of many of the papers and correspondence between Coulson and the authors. Some of the correspondence is in Russian.

  • Subseries IV.D Russian Publications. 1970-1979. 4.5 boxes.

    Printed publications, mostly in Russian, detailing Russian biological control research and joint projects with the United States of America in the 1970s. There are up to three copies of each publication.

Series V. Databases. 1860-1992. 6.5 boxes.

This series contains data and computer print outs of two databases that track invasive arthropods in North America and the Western Hemisphere. Included are handbooks and documentation describing the databases as well as correspondence and journal articles detailing research on some of the species.

  • Subseries V.A. North American Invasive Arthropod Database (NAIAD). 1860-1992. 2.5 boxes.

    Contains fact cards with information on various species of arthropods that are arranged by Order name and date they were first introduced. Also, this subseries includes a handbook and print out of the NAIAD database that was compiled by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The fact cards are believed to be what were used to input the information into the database when it was created in the 1980s.

  • Subseries V.B. Western Hemisphere Invasive Arthropod Database (WHIAD) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Codes . 1926-1988. 4 boxes.

    Contains data, correspondence, program documentation, print out and journal articles that pertain to the Western Hemisphere Invasive Arthropod Database (WHIAD) that was created in the 1980s. The data is arranged in the order they were entered into the database and there is program information and documentation from various points during the creation of the database. The journal articles all relate to various species that can be found in the WHIAD database and any contemporary research that was being done.

Series VI. Insect Identification and Parasite Introduction (IIPI). 1934-1987. 19 boxes.

This series contains grant applications, correspondence, bibliography and personnel files, published and unpublished reports, and other types of records containing information about the scientists and research done by the Insect Identification and Parasite Introduction (IIPI) division of the Agricultural Research Service. The records are often arranged geographically because of the global nature of IIPI and the multiple laboratories they worked with on projects or by scientist alphabetically.

  • Subseries VI.A. Contracts and Grants. 1958-1987. 8.5 boxes.

    This subseries includes correspondence, grant applications, and draft copies of grant, contract, and cooperative agreement proposals. They are arranged alphabetically by state followed with the grant/agreement number and title as the folder title. There are also a few memoranda of understanding with various states or individuals. At the end of the subseries are three binders containing completed forms titled "Research work unit/project description - classification of research." These have been kept in their original binders with the range of grant/agreement numbers on the file folder title.

  • Subseries VI.B. Correspondence. 1952-1972. 3.5 boxes.

    Subseries includes correspondence between the Insect Identification and Parasite Introduction division of the Agricultural Research Service and its field stations. Included with the field stations are a few specific scientists that have correspondence lasting for at least a decade. These include, Jason K. Holloway, D. W. Jones, George W. Angalet, and John J. Drea. The correspondence is arranged by field station with a particular scientist's correspondence with the field station where they worked.

  • Subseries VI.C. Publication and Personnel Files. 1934-1980. 5 boxes.

    This subseries is arranged by geographic branches of the Insect Identification and Parasite Introduction (IIPI) division of the Agricultural Research Service. Within each geographic location, each folder is in alphabetical order by last name of scientist listed. Each folder contains a list of reports published by the scientist between the 1940s and 1970s with copies of as many of the publications as it was possible to find at the time the file was compiled. If reports or articles were written before the scientist was a member of the United States Department of Agriculture, it is noted on the bibliography.

  • Subseries VI.D. Special Reports. 1948-1971. 2 boxes.

    Subseries includes reports, appendices, and remarks/speeches made regarding the research done by the Insect Identification and Parasite Introduction (IIPI) division. The reports were kept in original order. Each report is labeled with the title, the author if known and when it was written.

Series VII. Miscellaneous Publications and Reports. 1939-1995. 2 boxes.

This series includes published articles and reports on biological control. They range from government publications in the United States and Canada to reprints of journal articles. They cover a wide variety of subjects and research on biological control and work done by different agencies within the Agricultural Research Service. Often there were multiple copies of each publication, as such three copies of each publication were kept and if there were less than three copies available all copies were retained.

Series VIII. Shipping Records with Various Laboratories. 1964-1989. 8.5 boxes.

The series consists of shipping invoices documenting the shipment of various species of parasites and insects from one laboratory to another around the world. The records are separated by laboratory, chronologically, and numerically by the file number of the shipment. Some of the laboratories represented in this series are the Commonwealth Institute for Biological Control, European Parasite Laboratory, Beneficial Insect Research Laboratory, Beneficial Insect Introduction Laboratory and others. Included to preserve original order of the material are copies of annual reports, identification requests, and species determinations for the Asian Parasite Laboratory that were all originally filed together.

Series IX. Various Insects and Parasites Files. 1926-1987. 10 boxes.

This series includes files and photographs from various biological control research projects from the 1970s and 1980s. Rough and final drafts of reports, publications, and research files on the projects can be found throughout the two subseries. The series has been separated into two subseries based on the amount and type of information included for each research project in the collection.

  • Subseries IX.A. Gypsy Moth and Dung Beetle Documentation. 1960-1987. 5 boxes.

    Majority of the subseries includes rough drafts, reference lists, and final copies of the gypsy moth program documentation report. Also found are related publications used as possible references in the report and primary records from the gypsy moth research. After the gypsy moth report, there are other biological control reports from the same time period and the subseries ends with the final report on dung beetle research from Egypt.

  • Subseries IX.B. Photographs and Files. 1926-1980. 5 boxes.

    Consists of loose black and white photographs, files from various laboratories with photographs attached, and publications detailing a wide array of biological control research on various insects and their parasites. There are also some reports on various insects with photographs found throughout the files.

Series X. Various Reports. 1939-1982. 17 boxes.

Quarterly and annual reports from laboratories throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad detailing biological control research completed at each area. Also found are tables, tabulations, and reference lists for some of the research projects used to write the final reports.

  • Subseries X.A. Reports. 1939-1982. 10 boxes.

    Subseries includes quarterly and annual reports for laboratories in the Agricultural Research Service and in Canada. Titles consist of the following: Division of Bee Culture and Biological Control, European Chafer Investigations, Effect of spray practices on apple pests and their natural enemies, Dominion Laboratory (Belleville, Ontario, Canada), Commonwealth Institute of Biological Control (CIBC) field stations, and Canadian Biological Control Division. Also, there are some insect shipping reports detailing species that were released and those that were not.

  • Subseries X.B. Entomology (ENT) Tables and Tabulations. 1951-1969. 7 boxes.

    Reports, tables, and tabulations used in research and writing of reports from the Orono-Presque Isle Laboratory in Maine. Annual and quarterly reports are included in this subseries along with research files and reference lists for reports that were written based on the biological control research being done.

Series XI. Pest Identification and Insect Release Cards. 1861-1957. 15 boxes.

Cards include information about pest identification and introduction; cooperative shipments of insects to different countries by USDA, California state organizations, and other cooperating agencies; pest data compiled by Bureau of Entomology, Gypsy Moth Parasite Laboratory, European Stations; parasite release information from USDA, ARS, Entomology Research Division, Insect Indentification and Parasite Introduction Research Branch; and insect cards produced by the South American Parasite Laboratory.

  • Subseries XI.A. Pest Identification and Introduction Bibliographic Cards. 1861-1953. 5 boxes.

    Pest Identification and Introduction Bibliographic Cards are in order by last name of author(s) or by pest scientific name.

  • Subseries XI.B. Insect Pest Cards. 1873-1957. 2 boxes.

    Records in this file represent the cooperative shipments to different countries from USDA, California state organizations, and Australia and Japan. Collections and shipments made by foreign organizations on their own behalf are not included. Pests are listed by year and alphabetically by pest scientific name.

  • Subseries XI.C. Bureau of Entomology, Gypsy Moth Parasite Laboratory, European Stations, Cards. 1926-1934. 2 boxes.

    Data regarding pests in Austria, Hungary, and Yugoslavia in order by country and alphabetical by pest scientific name.

  • Subseries XI.D. USDA, ARS, Entomology Research Division, Insect Indentification and Parasite Introduction Research Branch. 1968-1970. 1 box.

    Details pertaining to the release of parasites from the New Jersey laboratory location.

  • Subseries XI.E. South American Parasite Laboratory Insect Cards. Undated. 5 boxes.

    Information on cards includes host name, locality, reference number, identifier, and remarks. Some include South American Parasite Laboratory release and shipment number. The cards are in order by both scientific and common name of insect.

Series XII. George N. Wolcott Correspondence. 1913-1960. 2 boxes.

George N. Wolcott worked for USDA as Agricultural Research Administration, Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine Collaborator and was also stationed at the Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Puerto Rico. Wolcott corresponded with the staff in the Division of Insect Detection and Identification of the U.S. National Museum, Washington D.C. regarding insect specimens Wolcott mailed to the staff to identify. The primary staff responder from the National Museum was Carl Frederick William Muesebeck, In Charge Division of Insect Detection and Identification. There is also correspondence between Muesebeck and William Robin Thompson, Imperial Institute of Entomology Parasite Service, Imperial Agricultural Bureaux, Ontario, Canada. This correspondence is primarily regarding the Catalogue of the Parasites and Predators of Insect Pests published by the Imperial Institute of Entomology Parasite Service in parts between 1943 and 1964.

Series XIII. Waldermere Klaussen Pest Management Files. 1972-1977. 3 boxes.

This series contains pest management files compiled by Waldemar Klassen, USDA National Program Staff, during the 1970s. Materials include documents related to the Integrated Pest Management Project (also known as the Huffaker Project directed by C.B. Huffaker). The Project addressed the principles, strategies, and tactics of pest population regulation and control in major crop ecosystems. Integrated Pest Management was defined as the ecological approach to pest control which seeks to blend all available techniques - biological, chemical, genetic, and cultural into a concerted system for pest suppression. Other files include research sources, articles, reports, and conference information.

Series XIV. Motion pictures. 1975-1988. 1 box.

VHS tapes, Beta tapes, and 16 mm reel tapes of biological control movies. There is a file folder in box 299 with a list of the titles of the movies that can be found in box 320.

Series XV. Oversize items. 1984. 1 box.

Oversize printouts of the North American Invasive Arthropod Database (NAIAD), subseries V.A., and the Western Hemisphere Invasive Arthropod Database (WHIAD), subseries V.B., that were separated from their original locations because they would not fit within a standard document box.