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 Conservation Biocontrol Toolkit and a copy of Farming With Native Beneficial Insects.

Please bring a sack lunch - lunch will not be provided. 

Canceled registrations can be refunded until June 6, 2017.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017
9:00 AM to 4:30 PM EDT

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4-H Education Center at Auerfarm 
158 Auer Farm Rd
Bloomfield, CT 06002

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 June 6th, 2017.

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


This Short Course is made possible with the support of the Northeast 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, and Xerces Society members.

Special thanks to Auerfarm.

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 Averill, University of Massachusetts.

 Conservation Biological Control
Short Course

4-H Education Center at Auerfarm
158 Auer Farm Rd.
Bloomfield, CT

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017
9:00 am - 4:30 pm EDT

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

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 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).
  • The most common beneficial insect groups and their ecological roles.
  • 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) 
  • Commericial and Private Pesticide Applicators (TBD)


Welcome and Announcements 

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

  • Overview of conservation biological control and integrated pest management
  • Status of beneficial insect conservation
  • Summary of conservation biocontrol case studies

Module 2 - 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
  • Profiles of common predators and parasitoids and the insect pests they attack


Module 3 - 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, meadows, and more)
  • Habitat conservation methods (e.g. site preparation, propagation, and maintenance)
  • Farm case studies 

LUNCH - 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

Field Activity
Small groups rotate through the following activities:

  • Practice using habitat assessment tool and form in the field
  • Develop recommendations for habitat enhancements, IPM, management practices, etc. based on assessment results
  • Scout different habitat types for beneficial insects
  • Discuss beneficial insects and their habitat associations observed in real-life, field conditions

Module 5 - 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

Guest Speaker – Ana Legrand, University of Connecticut 

  • A bouquet for beneficials: insectary plants for conservation biocontrol

Module 6 - USDA Practices and Programs for Beneficial Insect Conservation

  • Overview of USDA-NRCS conservation practices for beneficial insects
  • Overview of USDA-NRCS incentives programs for beneficial insects

Module 7 – Q&A, Additional Resources, and Course Evaluations



Jarrod Fowler – Xerces Society Pollinator Conservation & Conservation Biocontrol Specialist, Northeast
Jarrod is the Pollinator Conservation and Conservation Biological Control Specialist for New England and
Northeast Regions at The Xerces Society and a Partner Biologist at USDA-NRCS. Jarrod's work is
informed by 20 years of horticulture and entomology practice and training in New England. He is
proficient in insect habitat assessment, design, installation, maintenance, and monitoring. Jarrod is
leading extensive pollinator habitat restoration efforts with fruit and vegetable growers in New England.
Jarrod is currently collaborating with the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Districts and the
USDA-NRCS to design and test habitat systems for beneficial insects on organic vegetable farms.

Dr. Ana Legrand – Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture, UConn
Dr. Ana Legrand is an entomologist with the University of Connecticut. She teaches entomology courses
at the university and delivers extension programs on pest management. Her research program focuses
on biological control and plant-insect interactions. Currently, she is working on the use of insectary
plants and habitat manipulation for conservation biological control in vegetable production and other