Creating Beneficial Insect Habitat

What is a beneficial insect?

  • Both pollinators and  
  • Bees (much more than just honey bees)  
  • Flies, wasps, beetles, bugs, spiders, predatory mites, and more 

What attracts and keeps beneficial insects? 

  • Food—diverse flowering plants with lots of pollen and nectar 
  • Shelter—different insects use different types of plants and ground cover or bare ground 
  • Protection from harm—specifically harm from exposure to pesticides  

How to create habitat for beneficial insects

Select and grow plants that provide food and shelter for beneficial insects

  • Step 1. Choose a spot 
  • Step 2. Choose the plants 
  • Step 3. Manage weeds 
  • Step 4. Plant 

Note: Steps 3 and 4 (managing weeds and planting) are inextricably related to each other. Some weed management happens before you plant, some after. Planting method will also dictate weed management strategy.

This guide was prepared by Amara Dunn. Last updated on 3/17/2023.

Funds were provided by:

  • The Towards Sustainability Foundation
  • USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Smith Lever project 2020-21-108
  • NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
  • NYS Department of Environmental Conservation