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A bright green insect with translucent wings perches atop a yellow, daisy-like flower with a spherical center.
(Photo: Xerces Society / 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—and of course, pesticides can have widespread, harmful impacts.

Conservation biological control (CBC) 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.

Xerces has developed a comprehensive guide to habitat planning for beneficial insects that includes overviews of native beneficial insect groups and strategies for implementing conservation biological control, as well as the book Farming with Native Beneficial Insects.

In collaboration with the University of California–Berkeley, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), 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 IPM 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.


Fact Sheets


Other Web Resources