Intended Audience

The content of this course is tailored to the needs of farmers, NRCS, SWCD, Cooperative Extension, and state department of agriculture employees, as well as crop consultants, natural resource specialists,  and non-governmental conservation organization staff.


Registration is $45 per person. Course registration includes the Xerces Society's Beneficial Insects Toolkit and a copy of Farming With Native Beneficial Insects.

Registration closes on April 7th - register soon!

Please plan to bring a sack lunch and a refillable water bottle!

Canceled registrations can be refunded until April 7th, 2017.


Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
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Manhattan Plant Material Center 
3800 S 20th St
Manhattan, KS 66502

Driving Directions 


Jillian Vento
The Xerces Society 

Reasonable Accomodations

The Xerces Society provides reasonable accommodations for special events with adequate notice.  To request accommodation for events, please contact by Friday, April 7th.

The USDA and the Xerces Society are equal-opportunity providers and employers.


This Short Course is made possible with the support of the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Additional support for this training is provided by the Audrey and J.J. Martindale Foundation, Cascadian Farm, Ceres Trust, CS Fund, Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, General Mills, the Irwin Andrew Porter Foundation, Turner Foundation, Inc., Whole Foods Market and its vendors, Whole Systems Foundation, and Xerces Society members. 

Special thanks to Mark Janzen, Fred Cummings, and the folks at the Manhattan Plant Material Center for their assistance in planning and hosting this event. 

About The Xerces Society

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is an international nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. The Society's Pollinator Conservation Program was launched in 1996, and works with leading native pollinator ecologists to translate the latest research findings into on-the-ground conservation. More information about the Xerces Society is available at

Photo Credits

Header: Syrphid fly, by Adam Varenhorst. Sidebar: field observation of pollinators and plants, Anne Averille, University of Massachusetts.

 Farming With Beneficial Insects
for Pest Control:
Conservation Biological Control Short Course

Manhattan Plant Material Center
Manhattan, KS
Wednesday, April 12th, 2017
9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Learn a science-based strategy that seeks to integrate beneficial insects for natural pest control!

Learn about supporting beneficial insects that provide pest control in this full-day short course. 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 pesticides. Join Jennifer Hopwood, Senior Pollinator Conservation Specialist at the Xerces Society, as she overviews conservation biological control and beneficial predators and parasitoids that attack insect pests. Participants will learn how common farm practices can impact beneficial insects and how to assess and create farm habitat for beneficial insects.

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 workshop will cover: 

  • The importance of beneficial insects - predators and parasitoids that attack insect pests.
  • Overview of conservation biological control and integrated pest management (IPM).
  • Become familiar with the most common beneficial insect groups.
  • How to recognize the habitat needs of beneficial insects and identify habitat deficiencies.
  • The design and implementation of habitat improvements, including site preparation, insectary strip plantings, hedgerows, beetle banks, and more.
  • The current best management practices that minimize land-use impacts on beneficial insects and mitigate exposure to insecticides.
  • How to access USDA conservation programs for financial and technical support.

Participants will receive the Xerces Society's Conservation Biological Control Toolkit which includes habitat installation guidelines and other relevant publications, and the Xerces' book, Farming with Native Beneficial Insects.

 *Continuing Education Credits Available*

  • Certified Crop Advisor (6 CEUs) 
  • Society of American Foresters (5 CFE credits)
  • The Wildlife Society (5.5 contact hours)   


Welcome and Announcements 

  • Introduction and overview by Fred Cummings, PMC Manager 

Module 1 - Farming with Beneficial Insects: Conservation Biological Control (CBC)

  • Overview of conservation biological control and integrated pest management
  • Status of beneficial insect conservation

 Module 2 -  Farm Practices for Beneficial Insects

  • Supporting beneficial insects with farm practices
  • Preventing potential negative impacts of conventional and organic-approved pesticides on beneficial 
    insects (e.g. exposure pathways, toxicity, residual activity)
  • Mitigating pesticide risks to beneficial insects and other natural resources using IPM, PAMS, and 
    conservation practices (e.g. alternatives to pesticides, pesticide drift reduction, buffer practices)
  • Protecting overwintering and nesting sites


Module 3 - Common Beneficial Insect Groups

  • Introduction to beneficial insects and the ecological services they provide
  • Overview of beneficial insect groups (predators and parasitoids)
  • Summary of beneficial insect biology and habitat needs

Guest Speaker - 

  • Dr. Brian McCornack, Kansas State University

Guest Speaker - 

  • USDA Practices and Programs for Beneficial Insect Conservation - Mark Janzen

Lunch - Please bring a sack lunch! 

Module 4 - Assessing Baseline Farm Conditions for Beneficial Insects

  • Overview of habitat diversity values
  • Introduction to the Beneficial Insect Habitat Assessment Guide to Inform CBC Planning

Module 5 - Designing and Restoring Habitat for Beneficial Insects

  • Conservation practices that support beneficial insects (e.g. beetle banks, buffers and windbreaks, cover crops, field borders, hedgerows, insectary strips, wildflower meadows, and more)
  • Habitat conservation methods (e.g. site preparation, propagation, and maintenance)

Field Exercise

  • Using the Beneficial Insect Habitat Assessment Form and Guide
  • Overview of Beneficial Insect Monitoring Guide

Module 6 – Q&A, additional resources, and course evaluations 


Jennifer Hopwood - Senior Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Xerces Society
Jennifer provides resources and training for beneficial insect habitat management and restoration. Jennifer is an author of a number of publications and articles, and has experience in invertebrate field and laboratory research, identification, education, and outreach. Jennifer has degrees in ecology and entomology from the University of Kansas, and holds an adjunct position with Michigan State University's Kellogg Biological Station.


Dr. Brian McCornack, PhD -  Associate Professor, Kansas State University
Dr. Brian McCornack has an integrated research program that facilitates the discovery and application of tangible solutions to emerging pest issues and conservation of ecosystem services like pollinators and predators. He has co-developed a wide range of pest management tools for use on large commercial farms, including widely adopted economic injury levels and thresholds for invasive species, binomial sequential sampling plans for grain sorghum pests, and improved best management practices for economically important pests and beneficial insects.

Mark Janzen - Plant Materials Specialist, NRCS
Mark Janzen is employed by the United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as a Natural Resource Specialist with an emphasis on working as the Plant Materials Specialist for the states of Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma.  He is also the NRCS forestry and organic contact person for Kansas.  His past NRCS positions include managing the Manhattan Plant Materials Center and assignments in Lyon, Gove and Kiowa Counties in Kansas.  Mark also has an organic farm in Marion County, Kansas where he produces wheat and grain sorghum.