Urban agriculture is widely practiced throughout the world. Urban agriculture practitioners have diverse motivations and circumstances, but one problem is ubiquitous across all regions: insect pests. Many urban farmers and gardeners either choose to, or are required to forego, the use of chemical controls for pest outbreaks because of costs, overspray in populated areas, public health, and environmental concerns. An alternative form of pest control is conservation biological control (CBC)—a form of ecological pest management—that can reduce the severity of pest outbreaks and crop damage. Urban farmers relying on CBC often assume that diversification practices similar to those used in rural farms may reduce insect pest populations and increase populations of beneficial insects, yet these management practices may be inappropriate for applications in fragmented urban environments. In this review, we assess urban CBC research and provide a synthesis for urban agriculture practitioners. Our findings indicate that local and landscape factors differentially affect insect pests and beneficial arthropods across the reviewed studies, and we identify several on-farm practices that can be implemented to increase biological control in urban agriculture.
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