An insectary is an intentionally-managed farmscape that attracts beneficial insects and organisms to biologically control crop pests while increasing pollen and nectar sources for pollinators.

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Photo by Douglas Gayeton


Location: Lendward Farm, WA
Featuring: Brad Bailie, Organic Farmer

“When I had to use pesticides there was always that worry … but the way I am farming now feels pure, feels right.”

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service can help organic farmers create habitats for beneficial insects and organisms that increase biodiversity without using pesticides.

Farmers may convert productive land into conservation areas that help reduce soil erosion and agricultural runoff, or even place insectaries along farm edges can provide habitat for pollinators and beneficial insects. These are just some of the critical biological tools farmers can use to control pests.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER (When Planting an Insectary)
1. Where do crop pests come from and how are they attracted to a crop?
2. What are these pests’ most important native predators and parasites?
3. Are critical resources (pollen, nectar, alternative hosts/prey) available to the beneficial insect at the right time?
4. Which annuals and perennials can compensate for critical gaps in this landscape?

Lady beetles, ground beetles, syrphid flies, green lacewings, parasitic wasps and flies, praying mantis, predatory mites, and parasitic nematodes.

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