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A nonprofit, non-membership institute providing training and education about biological pest control as an alternative to the use of toxic chemicals in agriculture.

Our mission is to develop and offer learning opportunities that promote ecologically based pest management.  We start with practical strategies that restore biodiversity in soil and aerial food webs.  We work mainly with farmers to monitor and manage habitats so that beneficial organisms take care of pests and disease

Goals    Objectives

   Values that Guide our Decisions

  Projects in Progress      Past Events   Organization and Funding  Background



Promote understanding of agriculture as an ecological system.

Collect, generate and disseminate knowledge about agricultural practices and values in harmony with the environment.

Expand awareness of pest problems in the context of a food web.

Educate about the role of biodiversity in agro-ecosystems.

Develop biodiversity in agroecosystems for pest management.

Share knowledge and skills about ecologically based pest management with frank and open exchange of ideas, including non-traditional participants, and addressing local group needs within a global scope.

Cooperate with groups on the same path.


Train people on farms and in cities to manage their environments to minimize use of pesticides.

Offer training that enhances understanding of ecologically based pest management.  

Offer training for pest control advisors and field scouts, actively including women.  

Produce a website with educational materials.

Produce materials for gardeners on use of biocontrol organisms.

Build or acquire a facility for holding educational meetings.


Sustainability is our best gift to future generations.
Agriculture is the foundation of successful economic systems.
Interconnectedness, reciprocity and mutual aid guide all relationships.
Diversity strengthens physical, chemical, biological, and human systems.
Local community is the most important level for taking decisions and actions.
Teaching knowledge, understanding, skills AND wisdom is a great service.
Women and men, working together as equals, assures the greatest success.
Group consultation is the most effective means of problem-solving.
The principle of unity in diversity enlightens our consultation.

Projects in Progress

Biological Control of Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter (GWSS): Observing over 95% parasitism and strong associations with predators of this new pest.

Millennium Grove Avocado Demonstration:  Creating biocontrol under challenging conditions.

Biological Control of Pepper Weevil:  Phase 2 development of mass-rearing of locally adapted parasite strain.

Walnut Husk Fly Project:  Managing perennial cover to harbor predators without impeding harvest.

Habitat Enhancement Training Project: Six farmers tried various habitat strategies for biocontrol; lessons soon to be published in a book Helping the Good Bugs Win.

Biological Control of Red Gum Lerp Psyllid:  Educating public about biocontrol and role of ants on this high-visibility pest.

Southeast Asia Project:  Sharing agroecology practices in the region through support of farmer training in Integrated Pest Management.

Biological Agriculture Systems in Cotton (BASIC):   Reducing pesticides in Kern County, CA, cotton with habitat enhancement strategies.

Compost Tea Workshop:    Extending knowledge of how to make and use fresh brewed compost tea.

Youth Seminars: Hosted Entomology Club of Bardsdale 4H to get experience teaching youth.

Ventura River Trail Insect Attracting Garden:  Demonstration on nearby 50 yards of bike trail.

Past Events

Soil and Compost Ecology Seminar: Elaine Ingham explained soil food web affects on pest control.

Choosing Borders, Interplantings for Natural Control of Pests:  Field day demonstrated pest break strips, relationship of beneficial insects to flower structures, insect-attracting plants perennials.

Fighting New Pests of Avocados Biologically: 115 participants together studied the signs of insect ecology on leaves brought from their homes using video projection on our microscope.

Organization and Funding

Our team has a wide range of skills and a network of contacts to develop and carry out our programs. We help clients learn, practice and be successful demonstrators of our approaches. D-Vac Co., Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, Inc., Schlinger Foundation, the Dietrick family,  and other individual donors provide space and resources that allow us to operate and conduct small projects while grants and contracts support larger projects.   501(c)(3) tax- deductible contributions help us continue providing needed training about managing pests ecologically.


Founded in 1996, our name recognizes the work of entomologist and agroecology pioneer Everett J. (Deke) Dietrick. Our strategies build on his experience with the success of biological control and the failure and risks associated with pesticides. Deke’s professional career has been devoted to guiding farmers to rely as much as possible on biological control of pests and ensure a profitable crop. We use his D-Vac vacuum insect net techniques for much of our monitoring. Future articles at this site will describe these techniques.

We continue to expand our experience with habitat enhancement, conservation and augmentation of beneficial insects and use of non-toxic materials for biological control. There is no commercial incentive to do this much-needed and sought-after work, so the Dietrick Institute was formed. Farmers want to learn more about biological control and agroecology strategies.  See Reports. Become our partner in making this needed knowledge available.

Dietrick Institute for Applied Insect Ecology, PO Box 2506, Ventura, CA 93002

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