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, and required to secure your spot. Course registration includes the Xerces Society's Conservation Biocontrol Toolkit and a copy of Farming With Native Beneficial Insects.

Lunch will NOT be provided - please bring your own sack lunch and refillable water bottle.


Thursday, September 28th, 2017
9:00 AM to 3:30 PM

Add to Calendar


UAES Kaysville Research Farm 
725 South Sego Lily Drive
Kaysville, UT 84037

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 September 21st, 2017.

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


This course is made possible with the support of the Xerces Society, Western Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, and the Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District. Support was also provided by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Oregon State University, and the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides. Additional Xerces Society support was 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. 


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: Pink spotted lady beetle (Coleomegilla maculata), by Jennifer Hopwood, The Xerces Society

Farming with Beneficial Insects for Pest Control 

UAES Kaysville Research Farm
725 South Sego Lily Drive  Kaysville, UT 84037
Thursday, September 28th, 2017
9:00 AM - 3:30 PM

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. This two-day course will raise awareness of on-farm beneficial insects and the agricultural conservation practices that promote them in farming systems.

This full day workshop will deliver classroom presentation on creating habitat and good farm practices that support beneficial insects that prey on crop pests. Participants will learn about annual and perennial insectary plantings used on PNW farms, common beneficial insect groups, insectary design and habitat establishment techniques. During the field tour, there will be opportunities to reinforce and practice course-acquired knowledge, field ID of beneficial insects and pests, and gain practical tips from experienced practitioners on insectary habitat planning, planting, and establishment. 



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) 
  • Society of American Foresters (6 CFEs)


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

 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

Lunch - please bring your own, and a refillable water bottle.

Module 4 - 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)


Module 5 - 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 Tour and Training at Kaysville Research Farm

  • Tour of on-farm beneficial Insect habitat features
  • Beneficial insect monitoring using Xerces' new Beneficial Insect Scouting Guide

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


Jessa Kay Cruz, Senior Pollinator Conservation Specialist, The Xerces Society
Jessa is a Senior Pollinator Conservation Specialist for The Xerces Society, and a partner biologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Since joining Xerces in 2008, she has worked in agricultural and natural lands throughout the Western United States to create habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects, and to promote practices that support them. She provides education and technical support to a range of individuals and agencies, including farmers and ranchers, agricultural professionals, and land managers. Jessa holds a Master’s of Science in Environmental Entomology and Integrated Pest Management from California State University, Chico, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sustainable Farming from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.


Ricardo Ramirez, Associate Professor, Utah State University
Ricardo Ramirez is an associate professor in biology and extension entomologist at Utah State University. Since his arrival to Logan, Utah in 2010, he has investigated how abiotic factors impact predators and secondary pest outbreaks, as well as the role of predators and insect pathogens in suppressing pests. Ricardo was trained at New Mexico State University where he received his MS degree. He received his PhD at Washington State University in the department of entomology and completed his postdoctoral research associate at Texas A&M University. 

Marion Murray, Utah State University Extension
Marion has been the IPM Project Leader at Utah State University Extension since 2006.  She conducts outreach and research in IPM, including the seasonal pest advisories for tree fruits and landscape ornamentals. Prior to coming to USU, she spent 10 years in public horticulture education and landscape management.  She received her Master’s degree in plant pathology from Oregon State University and undergraduate degree from Penn State University.

Andrew Swain, Utah Agricultural Experiment Station
Bio coming soon!