Beneficial insects can contribute to natural pest suppression

Xerces Society offers conservation biocontrol short course at Kellogg Biological Station July 25, 2016.

Photo: Thelma Heidel-Baker, Xerces Society
Photo: Thelma Heidel-Baker, Xerces Society

Beneficial insects contribute to natural pest suppression and potentially save $4.5 billion annually in pesticide costs. Yet the contribution of insects that prey upon or parasitize crop pests is largely overlooked. Conservation biological control is a science-based pest management strategy that seeks to integrate beneficial insects back into cropping systems for natural pest control, ultimately reducing and in some cases eliminating the need for insecticides. This strategy is based upon ongoing research that continues to demonstrate a link between the conservation of natural habitat and reduced pest problems on farms, orchards and gardens.

In response to growing interest in promoting beneficial insects for their pest control services on farms, the Xerces Society has authored the book “Farming with Native Beneficial Insects” and developed the Conservation Biological Control Short Course to educate farmers, agriculture employees, natural resource specialists, land managers and conservation organization staff. This one-day workshop will be held July 25, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Academic Building at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, 3700 E. Gull Lake Drive, Hickory Corners, MI 49060.

This workshops will provide an overview of conservation biological control and integrated pest management (IPM). Participants will learn the importance of beneficial insects, the predators and parasitoids that attack insect pests, as well as how to identify them and recognize their habitat needs and deficiencies. Attendees will also be taught to design and implement habitat improvements, including site preparation, insectary strip plantings, hedgerows, beetle banks and more. Current best management practices that minimize land-use impacts on beneficial insects and mitigate exposure to insecticides will be introduced. USDA conservation programs for financial and technical support will be reviewed. Participants will receive the Xerces Society’s Conservation Biological Control Toolkit that includes habitat installation guidelines and other relevant publications, and the Xerces’ book, “Farming with Native Beneficial Insects.”

Registration for the workshop is $45 per person and pre-registration is required. Register at: Conservation Biological Control Short Course. For additional information about the course, email

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is an international nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. More information about the Xerces Society is available at the Xerces Society website.

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