Conservation Biological Control


A green lacewing perched atop prairie coneflower. Lacewings are beneficial insects that prey on a wide variety of soft-bodied insects and mites. Photo: Sarah Foltz Jordan

With the advent of chemical pesticides, the contributions of beneficial insects (those that prey upon or parasitize crop pests) were largely forgotten. However, pesticides alone have not solved the problem of crop pests. “Conservation Biological Control,” is a strategy that seeks to integrate beneficial insects back into crop systems for natural pest control. This strategy is based upon ongoing research that now demonstrates a link between the conservation of natural habitat and reduced pest problems on farms.

In collaboration with the University of California Berkeley, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other partners, the Xerces Society is expanding efforts to demonstrate the effectiveness of conservation biological control through field research with academic partners, habitat restoration field trials, and outreach to farm communities and farm agency staff.

In addition, we collaborated with Oregon State University’s Integrated Plant Protection Center to develop a brochure called Farming For Pest Management that identifies common conservation biological control opportunities for farmers.

Additional resources are in development and will be available soon. For other information and suggestions on implementing conservation biological control, please visit the links below.



Farming with Native Beneficial Insects

Authors Eric Lee-Mäder, Jennifer Hopwood, Mace Vaughan, Scott Hoffman Black, and Lora Morandin discuss the ecology of native beneficial insects and how to increase their numbers on your farm through simple conservation strategies.

Beneficial Insect Habitat Assessment Form and Guide

This guide is focused on beneficial insects for conservation biological control on farms and agricultural landscapes, such as orchards or field crop settings. This tool is meant to help educate farmers and conservation planners, prioritize conservation actions, and quantify habitat or management improvements on a single farm.

Habitat Planning for Beneficial Insects

A new resource released in 2017, this guidebook provides recommendations on designing and installing habitat to support beneficial insects for natural pest control.

Beneficial Insect Scouting Guides

Our scouting guides are an easy-to-use tool for assessing the presence of predatory organisms where they hunt or rest – in soils, on vegetation, or on flowers.

Fact Sheets

Other Web Resources