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Protecting Pollinators One Community at a Time

By Aimée Code on 22 June 2017

Pollinator week provides a time for us all to reflect on how we can help restore the amazing and diverse pollinator species so inextricably linked to our survival. While the task of bringing back the pollinators can seem daunting, if we focus on our own communities, we really can make a difference. We’ve provided ideas and encouragement for furthering invertebrate conservation in your backyard and beyond, suggestions on how to expand pollinator-friendly plantings in your neighborhood, and provide all the resources you need to increase floral resources to provide food for bees and other pollinators.

Planting a pollinator garden in your backyard is great, and that great work can be amplified when cities and publicly managed spaces also add to overall habitat. A single city park can provide many native bees everything they need to survive since most native bees only travel a couple hundred meters from their nests to where they forage.

 

A Xerces Society pollinator habitat sign stands proudly in a lush garden.
Planting a pollinator garden in your backyard is great, and that great work can be amplified when cities and publicly managed spaces also add to overall habitat. To be successful it’s imperative that these plantings also be protected from pesticides. (Photo: © Celeste Ets-Hokin)

 

Providing and protecting habitat is essential to supporting pollinators, but using pesticides near pollinator habitat is like hosting a party and poisoning the punch bowl. If your plantings are to be helpful to bees they also need to be protected from pesticides. Fortunately, dozens of cities across the country have already passed policies to stop using bee-toxic pesticides. In many cases these policies were introduced by citizens, and serve as models for other communities to demonstrate that common-sense pesticide policy can be implemented in municipalities of all sizes. In order to assist you in urging your city to adopt practices to protect pollinators we’ve prepared a model policy to serve as a framework for developing meaningful protections that is research-based and addresses key issues.

Whether you use our model policy or another, the policy should address these critical issues:

  • Eliminating the use of neonicotinoid insecticides and other highly toxic, systemic insecticides;
  • Restricting the purchase and use of products that contain neonicotinoids and seeds or plants that have been treated with neonicotinoids;
  • Implementing integrated pest management on municipal property that relies on non-chemical options first;
  • Avoiding cosmetic pesticide applications; and
  • Engaging residents through education about pollinators and pesticides.

To view the full text of our model policy or download it as a Word doc, click here. If you want to be a part of making your community more pollinator-friendly, please feel free to contact us. We’d be thrilled to help out.

 

Authors

Aimée Code joined the Xerces Society in 2013 to direct its new pesticide program. In that role, she has built a program focused on securing practices and policies that promote ecologically sound pest management. She and her staff evaluate the risks of pesticides, develop technical guidance, and advocate for actions that reduce reliance on and risks of pesticide use in both urban and agricultural settings. Aimée received her master's of science in environmental health with a minor in toxicology from Oregon State University.

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