Internationally recognized pioneer in integrated pest management and the application of biological techniques to pest control.
Beirne received his Ph.D. at age 22 for his self-directed pioneering entomological work. He came to Canada in 1949 as Senior Entomologist for the Canadian Government, and in 1955 was appointed Director of Research for the Research Institute for Biological Control in Belleville, Ontario. His work there resulted in the publication of the well-illustrated monographs The Leafhoppers of Canada and Alaska (1956) and The Cicadas and Treehoppers of Canada (1959). In 1967, he led seven colleagues to Simon Fraser University in BC, where they established the first professional program leading to the degree of Master in Pest Management (MPM).
Beirne was an expert in biological control and insect taxonomy. His particular interest lay in managing insect pests in a manner which would least harm non-targeted and beneficial insects, as well as other organisms. He coined the term “integrated pest management,” a combination of targeted chemical, physical and biological controls.
After Beirne retired in 1983, he continued to research the histories of pest control in both Canada and Ireland. As Emeritus Professor of Pest Management, he maintained close ties with SFU, and established two high tech pest control companies.
The insect genus Beirneola, and a number of species of insects and fungi, called beirnei, carry his name.
Sources: The O’Beirne Family website, SFU News April 2, 1998; Image: The O’Beirne Family website.