The National Biological Control Laboratory is located twelve miles northwest of Mission on land that once belonged to Moore Air Force Base. It is operated by the United States Department of Agriculture, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and Plant Protection and Quarantine. The APHIS has operated a biological control laboratory in Niles, Michigan, since 1966. In 1985 the facility was inaugurated in Texas at Moore Air Force Base, where other projects such as a successful screwworm-eradication program had operated since the mid-1950s. A third APHIS Biological Control Laboratory is at Bozeman, Montana.
The APHIS laboratory serves all fifty states and some foreign countries in biological control. Its purpose is to effect methods to minimize the damage from agricultural weeds and insect pests by taking advantage of their natural enemies. Predatory beetles, aggressive parasites, and deadly disease organisms that confine their activity to agricultural pests are enlisted and tested for their ability to control these pests. Beneficial predators that have been experimentally proved to be of value to agriculture are distributed to areas in need of specific disease or pest control. The beneficial agents classified by the BCL are parasites, pathogens, and predators. Among the plant pests that may be controlled by these agents are knapweed, leafy spurge, the Mexican bean beetle, the alfalfa weevil, the citrus whitefly, the citrus blackfly, the European corn borer, the Colorado potato beetle, and the Russian Wheat Aphid.
The NBCL operates under the supervision of a director and a staff that may vary in size. In 1990 the staff numbered thirty-five.