Robert van den Bosch

Published 1978, the year of his death.

Biocontrol Researcher Robert van den Bosch

1950's photo of University of California Riverside Faculty


While Chairing the Division of Biological Control, University of California at Berkeley, Professor van den Bosch wrote:

“As a veteran researcher in insect control, I have long been disturbed by the dishonest, irresponsible, and dangerous nature of our prevailing chemical control strategy, but I am even more distressed by the knowledge that this simplistic strategy cannot possibly contain the versatile, prolific, and adaptable insects.” The Pesticide Conspiracy, p. 6.


“It took me a long time to recognize the existence of the pesticide mafia, and if I had done so earlier in my career I might have been intimidated by it and retreated into my burrow. But now I am too old to care and so I just rear back and blast away at the obscenity. I suppose that this is a dangerous game, but what can a Mafioso do to an old bombardier beetle except step on it? There are worse fates!” The Pesticide Conspiracy , p. 59.


"Scientists are molded to seek the truth and tell it. This ethic is the driving force of my life and I expect it in other scientists. Thus to me it is always a shattering emotional experience when I learn of some devious antic by a scientist or a scientific institution." The Pesticide Conspiracy, p. 127.


Professor van den Bosch of the University of California was one of the developers of Integrated Pest Management--the use of biological controls, improved pest knowledge and observation, and judicious application of chemicals only when absolutely necessary. His research often suggested that less or no pesticides should be applied, which made him the target of both open and clandestine attack from industry and government figures. In protest, he wrote this passionate account of what Ecology called "the ultimate social disaster of: evolving pesticide-resistant insects, the destruction of their natural predators and parasites, emergent populations of new insect pests, downstream water pollution, atmospheric pollution, the 'accidental' killing of wildlife and people, and the bankruptcies of indigenous and small farmers."


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The van den Bosch family welcomes support through book sales and contributions to the Robert van den Bosch Memorial Scholarship in Biological Control. Learn more about the Memorial Scholarship Fund at and soon to be published at in the fall 2006 Bulletin of the Association of Applied IPM Ecologists.


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