Xerces Society releases book on farming with native beneficial insects

Lacewings, lady beetles and flower flies are just a few of the beneficial insect groups that attack crop pests and reduce the need for pesticides. To increase the abundance and diversity of these hardworking insects on farms, the Xerces Society is pleased to announce the release of Farming with Native Beneficial Insects, the most comprehensive book ever developed on the subject of natural pest control.

“Farming with Native Beneficial Insects provides clear, effective, science-based conservation strategies that increase beneficial insect populations,” said lead author and Xerces Society ecologist, Eric Lee-Mäder. “By using conservation systems such as native hedgerows, insectary strips, beetle banks, wildlife buffers, and cover crops, farmers can support the invertebrates that control crop pests.”

The book offers details of how to implement these systems, complemented by sections on pesticide risk reduction, case studies of natural pest control across the U.S., information on assessing the quality of beneficial insect habitat and a guide to common beneficial insect groups. All of this is accompanied by stunning colour photography, step-by-step how-to illustrations, region-specific wildflower seed mix formulas to attract beneficial insects and research results presented as easy-to-understand graphs.

Along with direct benefits to pest management, the strategies highlighted in Farming with Native Beneficial Insects also improve farm conditions for pollinators and other wildlife, support soil and water quality protection and enhance farm aesthetics. All of these features make this book a conservation milestone.

“This thorough, easy-to-follow treatment shows how to better integrate natural enemies of insect pests into landscapes of all scales, from backyard gardens to large-scale agriculture,” said Whitney Cranshaw, entomology professor and extension specialist at Colorado State University. “Building on Attracting Native Pollinators, the Xerces Society hits another home run with Farming with Native Beneficial Insects.”

More than 250 pages in length, Farming with Native Beneficial Insects was co-authored by Xerces ecologists Eric Lee-Mäder, Jennifer Hopwood, Mace Vaughan and Scott Hoffman Black in partnership with co-author and Canadian entomologist-extraordinaire, Dr. Lora Morandin. Farming with Native Beneficial Insects is published by Storey Publishing.

“If you are a grower or a backyard gardener, this is a ‘must-have,’” said Claire Kremen, professor and co-director of the Berkeley Food Institute, University of California, Berkeley. “Readable and filled with gorgeous photos and handy charts, this book provides reams of information about how to get the upper hand on your pest issues with reduced or no pesticide use.”

The release of Farming with Native Beneficial Insects coincides with the launch of the Xerces Society’s Conservation Biological Control Short Course, a nationwide workshop series on the subject of natural pest control. The course, which will be first presented in the West and Midwest, provides farmers, crop consultants, and government farm agency staff with a comprehensive, hands-on training in the natural pest management strategies described in the book. A similar workshop model offered by Xerces has trained tens of thousands of people in farm communities across the U.S. to conserve bees and restore pollinator habitat, and helped facilitate the restoration of more than 100,000 acres of wildflower habitat for bees.

For more information
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
Eric Lee-Mäder, Pollinator Program Co-Director 
T: (503) 989-3649

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