Beetle banks are typically made up from plants such as sunflowers, Vicia faba, Centaurea cyanus, coriander, borage, Muhlenbergia, Stipa, and buckwheats (Eriogonum spp.). Beetle banks are used to reduce or replace the use of insecticides, and can also serve as habitat for birds and beneficial rodents. For example, insects such as Chrysoperla carnea and the Ichneumon fly can prey on pests. The concept was developed by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust in collaboration with the University of Southampton.
According to a March 2005 draft entry for the Oxford English Dictionary, the term first came into use in the early 1990s, with published examples including the August 22, 1992 issue of the New Scientist and an October 12, 1994 reference in The Guardian society section: