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 $25 per person. Course registration includes the Xerces Society's Beneficial Insects Toolkit.

Priority given to those who register by December  3rd, register soon!

Lunch will not provided, please plan to bring a bagged lunch and reusable water bottle with you to the course.

Canceled registrations can be refunded until December 3rd, 2018.


Thursday, December 13th, from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM
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Cheshire County Department of Corrections
825 Marlboro St
Keene, NH  03431

Driving Directions 

General Contact

Liz Robertson
The Xerces Society 
503-232-6639 ex. 120

Reasonable Accomodations

The Xerces Society provides reasonable accommodations for special events with adequate notice.  To request accommodation for events, please contact by December 3rd, 2018. 

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


This Short Course is made possible with the support of the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program.  Special thanks to Amanda Littleton of the Cheshire County Conservation District for help coordinating the course.

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: Spotted lady beetle, by Thelma Heidel-Baker. 

Sidebar: field observation of insects and plants, by Nancy Adamson.

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

Cheshire County Department of Corrections
Keene, NH
Thursday, December 13th, 2018
9:00 am - 3:30 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 Thelma Heidel-Baker, Conservation Biocontrol 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.

 *Continuing Education Credits Available*

  • Certified Crop Advisor (Pending approval) 
  • Society of American Foresters (Pending approval)
  • The Wildlife Society (5.5 contact hours)   


Welcome and Announcements 

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

  • Role of beneficial insects in conserva;on biological control
  • Status of beneficial insect conserva;on & summary of conserva;on biocontrol case studies

 Module 2 -  Designing and Restoring Habitat for Beneficial Insects

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


Module 3 - Eric Venturini:  Beneficial Insect Conservation Efforts in New Hampshire

Lunch Break - Lunch will not be provided.  Please bring a bag lunch and refillable water bottle with you to the course.

Module 4 - Common Beneficial Insect Groups

  • Introduction to beneficial insects and the ecological services they provide
  • Profiles of common predators and parasitoids and the insect pests they attack
  • Case study examples of beneficial insects used in New Hampshire

Module 5 - Farm Practices for Beneficial Insects

  • Overview of common farm practices and their impact on conservation biocontrol
  • Mitigating potential negative impacts of farm practices on beneficial insects

Module 6 – USDA Farm Bill Programs Supporting Beneficial Insects (USDA NRCS)

  • USDA Conservation Programs and Practices supporting pollinators, other beneficial insects, and other wildlife conservation


Module 7 - Assessing Baseline Farm Conditions for Beneficial Insects

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

Wraup Up, Q&A, additional resources, raffle, and course evaluations 


Thelma Heidel-Baker – Conservation Biocontrol Specialist, The Xerces Society  
Thelma Heidel-Baker is the conservation biological control specialist for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. In this position, she provides technical support and expertise on developing best management practices and creating habitat for conserving benficial insects in farming landscapes across the U.S.  Thelma has over 15 years of extensive research experience in biological control and integrated pest managment (IPM) in agricultural cropping systems.  She holds graduate degrees in entomology, specializing in biological control, from Purdue University and the University of Minnesota.  Based out of southeastern Wisconsin, she also actively incoporporates insect conservation practices into her family's organic dairy farm.


Eric Venturini - Pollinator Conservationist and NRCS Partner Biologist
Eric is a Pollinator Conservationist and Partner Biologist with NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) and The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. He works with farmers and NRCS Conservationists in New England to support efforts to establish pollinator habitat on farms. Eric earned his Master’s degree from the University of Maine studying the role of pollinators in agriculture to and has published several scientific articles on the topic. If you are interested in supporting pollinators on your farm and boosting crop pollination from native bees, contact Eric!