Game theory as a conceptual framework for managing insect pests

Joel S Brown*, Kateřina Staňková

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


For over 100 years it has been recognized that insect pests evolve resistance to chemical pesticides. More recently, managers have advocated restrained use of pesticides, crop rotation, the use of multiple pesticides, and pesticide-free sanctuaries as resistance management practices. Game theory provides a conceptual framework for combining the resistance strategies of the insects and the control strategies of the pest manager into a unified conceptual and modelling framework. Game theory can contrast an ecologically enlightened application of pesticides with an evolutionarily enlightened one. In the former case the manager only considers ecological consequences whereas the latter anticipates the evolutionary response of the pests. Broader applications of this game theory approach include anti-biotic resistance, fisheries management and therapy resistance in cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-32
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Insect Science
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • Journal Article
  • Review


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