Looking Closer at Beneficial Insects

Part of the "Scarecrow and Ladybugs" Collection


Students will observe and learn about beneficial insects in the garden.

Estimated Time

45 Minutes

Setting Required

Inside or Outside


  • S3L2a. Students will explain the effects of pollution to the habitats of plants and animals.
  • S3L2b. Students will identify ways to protect the environment (conservation of resources, recycling of materials).


  1. Explain to students that one of the reason that we need beneficial insects is for pollination but when we try to get rid of pests using pesticides, we often also harm the beneficial insects too.
  2. Watch What Our World Would Look Like Without Honeybees (Slideshow) to understand the impact that pesticides have had on the honeybee population and how it would affect our world if they disappeared.
  3. Brainstorm with students how to make a safe and attractive home for pollinators in your school garden.
  4. Brainstorm with students ways to control pests without harming beneficial insects: scarecrows, netting, hand-removal, intercropping (from lesson above), companion planting (from Help a Sister Out lesson). With research, students can learn about other methods such as foil flags and flutterers, introducing beneficial insects such as ladybugs and green lacewings, attracting beneficial insects by placing a shallow bowl of water in the garden, removing pest species by hand, or concocting non-toxic pest removal sprays such as soapy water.
  5. Challenge students to consider how other chemicals come into the garden (herbicides or “weedkillers” and commercial fertilizers) and brainstorm ways to remove the weeds and provide the soil with nutrients (see Rotting Away compost lesson for more) without using chemicals.