Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Inspired solutions for the future of agriculture and the environment.
Learn More Program Areas

Beneficial Organisms

Beneficial organisms carry out a wide variety of essential work in agro-ecosystems. Honeybees and other pollinators pollinate most of the plants that humans consume. Earthworms and other soil organisms perform critical roles in creating healthy soil structure and helping to cycle both carbon and nutrients. Meanwhile, predators help keep problematic insect pest populations in check.

Featured Publications

Selection Methods for Honey Bee Breeding [video]

Cobey, S., T. Lawrence, and S. Sheppard. Washington State University Extension. 2019. Produced by Washington State University College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences.

Organic farming promotes biotic resistance to foodborne human pathogens

Jones, M.S., Z. Fu, J.P. Reganold, D.S. Karp, T.E. Besser, J.M. Tylianakis, W.E. Snyder. 2019. Journal of Applied Ecology.

Birds of Prey and Dairy Farms

This video explains a variety of attempts to encourage natural predators as biocontrol for pest birds and rodents in agriculture, particularly dairies. 3 minutes. This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA under award number FW14-012 Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE). Opinions expressed are those of the researchers.

Additional Publications

Entomopathogen biodiversity increases host mortality.

Jabbour, R, DW Crowder, EA Aultman and WE Snyder. 2011. Biological Control 59:277‐283.

Conserving and promoting evenness: Organic farming and fire‐based wildland management as case studies

Crowder, DW, TD Northfield, R Gomulkiewicz and WE Snyder. 2012. Ecology 93:2001‐2007.

Some WSU Extension websites provide links to external sites for the convenience of users. These external sites are not managed by WSU Extension. Furthermore, WSU Extension does not review, control or take responsibility for the content of these sites, nor do these sites implicitly or explicitly represent official positions and policies of WSU Extension.