Xerces News Archive


The Old Man and the Bee

Published on December 13, 2016

Dr. Robbin Thorp started looking for Franklin’s bumble bee in the 1960s. It remained easily found throughout its range since the 1990s, but subsequent yearly surveys by Dr. Thorp have suggested this bee is nearly extinct. No Franklin’s bumble bees were observed during surveys in 2004 – 2004 with the exception of a single worker Read more …


General Mills joins effort to support bee and butterfly habitats

Published on December 1, 2016

General Mills has made its largest contribution to help save pollinators, announcing a $2 million commitment that will add more than 100,000 acres of bee and butterfly habitat on or near existing crop lands. The five-year agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Xerces Society, the world’s oldest and Read more …


General Mills, NRCS and the Xerces Society announce multi-year, $4 million investment in pollinator habitat

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WASHINGTON — General Mills, the Xerces Society, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announce a major milestone in their partnership to restore and protect pollinator habitat across hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland in North America. The five-year, $4 million financial commitment between General Mills and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will support Read more …


Firefly Populations Are Blinking Out

Published on July 8, 2016

Blink and you’ll miss them this summer. Around the world, people are reporting that local firefly populations are shrinking or even disappearing. The insect’s dilemma first came to the world’s attention at the 2010 International Firefly Symposium, where researchers from 13 nations presented evidence of firefly population declines and declared “an urgent need for conservation Read more …


[VIDEO] Western Bumblebee no longer in Willamette Valley

Published on June 28, 2016

Though Oregon may be experiencing a population boom, there is at least one group that is no longer found anywhere in the Willamette Valley. The Western Bumblebee. “Western Bumblebee used to be one of the 3 most common species in Oregon,” said Sarina Jepsen of the Xerces Society in Portland. “It’s really declined dramatically and Read more …


Groups seek to protect rare butterfly whose only home is San Juan Island

Published on June 20, 2016

San Juan Island is the only home to the island marble butterfly. Populations of the species disappeared from Canadian islands in the 1900’s and were rediscovered on San Juan Island in 1998. The species has suffered further decline since rediscovery and faces limited protections. In the grasslands on south San Juan Island, several patches of Read more …


LA Times: 6 easy ways you can help save the bees

Published on June 6, 2016

Busy as a bee is an accurate statement. According to the Xerces Society, a nonprofit organization working to protect bees, 75% of the world’s food crop depends on at least one pollinator, such as the honeybee. (California’s pollinator-dependent crop value is about $12 billion a year.) That’s a lot riding on the journey of the Read more …


What Santa Monica can do about monarch butterfly decline

Published on June 4, 2016

In 1997 there were more than 1.2 million monarchs overwintering in California and in 2014 only 234,000 – an 81 percent decline from the 1997 high, 48 percent decline from the 18- year average, and just over 10 percent per year. What has caused such a decline? The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, which studies Read more …


A common pesticide may be a menace to pollinators. Know how to protect them.

Published on May 11, 2016

Many homeowners want to throw a lifeline to beleaguered bees and butterflies by planting pollinator gardens that will provide sustenance and habitat, but the unwitting use of insecticides may lure these beloved insects to their doom. The worry is that a common type of pesticide known as neonicotinoids, or neonics, will poison honeybees, bumblebees, monarch Read more …


Cheerios Giving Bees A Buzz-Worthy 3,300 Acres Of Flowers To Pollinate

Published on May 3, 2016

On April 26, General Mills announced that the farms that supply oats for Honey Nut Cheerios will plant approximately 3,300 acres of habitat for bees and other pollinators by 2020. It’s a size of land that is equivalent to “3,000 football fields,” Tom Rabaey, principal agronomist for General Mills, said in a video for Cheerios. “I Read more …


Gardeners can help protect butterfly populations

Published on April 19, 2016

Bees aren’t the only pollinators suffering from a massive North American die-off. Butterflies and moths, those flying flowers of the insect world, are disappearing too. “But the situation isn’t hopeless,” says Scott Hoffman Black, executive director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, in Portland, Oregon. “Anybody — gardeners or butterfly lovers — can make Read more …


This Is What Dessert Would Look Like Without Bees

Published on April 13, 2016

Bad news for those with a sweet tooth: the absence of pollinators such as bees and butterflies would signal the end of dessert as we know it. Whole Foods Market recently removed all products from an area of the supermarket reliant on the creatures, mirroring past initiatives in the diary aisle and the produce section. Read more …


Maryland legislators enact ban on neonicotinoid pesticides to help bee population

Published on April 8, 2016

Maryland lawmakers this week voted to curb the sale of certain pest control products to home gardeners after reviewing studies that point to the harmful effects some lawn chemicals have on bees and other pollinators. The legislation prohibits the retail sale and household use of neonicotinoid pesticides, a class of insect repellent that attacks the Read more …


Meet an Iowa Farmer Who Puts Pollinators First

Published on April 7, 2016

“It sounds kind of crazy, you know, dumping gravel in the middle of your field,” says fifth-generation farmer Andrew Dunham, “if you don’t understand the ecological process.” Andrew’s voice brims with enthusiasm as he discusses his latest plan to improve habitat for native bees and other beneficial insects on Grinnell Heritage Farm, his 80-acre organic Read more …


Citizen scientists tracking Ohio bumblebees

Published on July 27, 2015

Nolly Dakroury, The Columbus Dispatch Luciana Musetti is fascinated by bumblebees. “They play a vital role to our environment, and they are beautiful, too,” Musetti, an entomologist and curator of the Triplehorn Insect Collection at Ohio State University’s Museum of Biological Diversity, said in an email. When she can, she photographs them. That’s why she Read more …


State probe of Portland bee deaths finds lethal dose of banned chemical

Published on July 24, 2015

Kelly House, The Oregonian State investigators found lethal levels of a banned insecticide in the systems of bees found dead last month in downtown Portland. The Oregon Department of Agriculture released results Friday of investigations into the June 26 bee deaths near Pettygrove Park, as well as two nearby bee die-offs in mid-June. Investigators collected Read more …


World’s Biggest Bumblebee at Risk of Extinction

Published on July 15, 2015

John R. Platt, Scientific American I’ve seen some big bumblebees in my time, but nothing like South America’s Bombus dahlbomii. “It looks like a flying mouse,” says Sarina Jepsen, endangered species program director for the The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. “It’s huge, colorful and incredibly charismatic.” B. dahlbomii is, in fact, the world’s largest Read more …


Bumblebees in severe and rapid decline from climate change — study

Published on July 10, 2015

Malavika Vyawahare, ClimateWire The heat is beginning to sting for bumblebees. As the Earth warms, they are being driven out of their habitats in North America and Europe, according to a new study published in Science. “They have disappeared from places they used to be found,” said Jeremy Kerr, an ecologist and one of the Read more …


Bumblebees Are Being Bumped Off by Climate Change, Scientists Say

Published on July 9, 2015

Alan Boyle, NBC News Scientists say wild bumblebee species are being squeezed into extinction by climate change in North America and Europe — so much so that some of them might need help from us humans to find safe havens. Their conclusion, published in this week’s issue of the journal Science, is based on an Read more …


A ‘Climate Vise’ is Squeezing Bumble Bees’ Range

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Brian Kahn, Climate Central If you’ve hiked through a meadow in bloom in Europe or North America, you’ve probably heard the buzz and seen the lazy meanderings of bumble bees from flower to flower. Yet what was once a common sight on the southern end of their range is becoming rare or nonexistent. According to Read more …


Bumblebees being crushed by climate change

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Cally Carswell, ScienceMag.org As the climate changes, plants and animals are on the move. So far, many are redistributing in a similar pattern: As habitat that was once too cold warms up, species are expanding their ranges toward the poles, whereas boundaries closer to the equator have remained more static. Bumblebees, however, appear to be Read more …


Rising Temperatures Are Squishing Bumblebee Habitats

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Rob Verger, Vice News Climate change is putting the pinch on bumblebee habitats, says a study published today in the journal Science. As atmospheric temperatures have risen, wild bumblebees in North America and Europe have not been extending the northern limits of their ranges to higher latitudes, as some other species have done. Meanwhile, higher Read more …


Just a handful of wild bee species do most of the pollination work

Published on June 17, 2015

Sasha Harris-Lovett, LA Times Wild bees pollinate many crops, but some bees are busier than others. On average, only 2% of wild bee species were responsible for 80% of the pollination visits witnessed by researchers around the world, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. “This study puts a spotlight on Read more …


Migrating Monarch Butterflies Might Actually Take to the Highway

Published on June 2, 2015

Heather Hansman, Smithsonian.com The Monarch butterfly population has been in decline, but the North American insects are getting some unlikely help with their migration. This month, a Pollinator Health Task Force, formed at President Obama’s request and including government agencies from the Federal Highway Association to Fish and Wildlife as well as non-governmental partners, released Read more …


USDA Program Aims To Aid Pollinators

Published on May 29, 2015

Rita Brhel, Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan It’s been nine years since Colony Collapse Disorder first made headlines, not only in the beekeeping community but also to the masses with reports speculating the effects of this mysterious, sudden disappearance of millions of honey bees on future supermarket prices. Yet honey bees are continuing to suffer. Read more …


Can bees become addicted to pesticides?

Published on April 23, 2015

Pete Spotts, The Christian Science Monitor Flitting from blossom to blossom, bees represent an ecological lifeline from one generation of plants to the next – paid in nectar and pollen to keep the reproductive ball rolling on farms, in woods, and in backyard gardens. But since 2006, concerns have grown over a decline in bee Read more …


Save the Bees with J. Crew’s New Graphic Tees, Which Already Have Celebrities Abuzz

Published on April 22, 2015

Andrea Cheng, InStyle Here’s some Earth Day news for you to buzz about—J. Crew has spearheaded a Save the Bees campaign through its Garments for Good initiative to support The Xerces Society, a non-profit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates (read: bees and their fellow insects). And why exactly? Because of climate Read more …


Whole Foods and Xerces Society Work to Help Pollinators at Risk

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Gabrielle Saulsbery, Modern Farmer Many of the ingredients in popular dishes would become scarce or totally unavailable without pollinators like bees, hummingbirds and hawk moths. Pollinators are responsible for one in three bites of food people take, and with the threats these small flying friends face on a daily basis, many species are in danger. Read more …


Long-suspected pesticide is harming bumblebees

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John Dzieza, The Verge When honey bees began dying en masse in late 2006, one of the early suspects was a class of insecticides called neonicotinoids. These chemicals are often applied to seeds before planting, so that the poison permeates the entire plant as it grows, including its pollen and nectar. The European Union placed Read more …


Lockeford researchers boost conservation efforts

Published on April 21, 2015

Reed Fujii, Recordnet The topics were perhaps a bit esoteric — providing habitat for pollinators, primarily native California bees, and promoting healthy soil with a balance of plant and microbial life. But interest in such research, promising benefits to farming and conserving the environment, brought several dozen people together Tuesday at the annual open house Read more …


Plight of imperiled Glacier National Park insect draws lawsuit

Published on April 15, 2015

Vince Devlin, The Missoulian There are approximately 3,500 species of stoneflies. One of them – one so rare it’s found only in Montana – is at the heart of a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity wants a judge to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Read more …


This Is What Your Salad Bar Would Look Like Without Bees (And Other Pollinators)

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Nick Visser, The Huffington Post By now, you probably have your salad bar game down to a science. Arugula, beets, feta, sunflower seeds and a touch of balsamic vinaigrette? A little bit of falafel if you want to feel fancy? Well, without bees, butterflies, beetles and their pollinating brethren, tough luck. For the past two Read more …


US Environment Agency May Restrict Some Neonic Use

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Dede Williams, Che Manager The US is moving more closely into line with Europe in restricting the use of neonicotinoid-based insecticides suspected of posing risks to bee populations. Faced with mounting criticism as well as a still pending lawsuit – filed in 2013 by a coalition of beekeepers, environmental and consumer groups in a federal Read more …


Value of endangered bumblebees weighed in VT

Published on April 8, 2015

By Joel Banner Baird, Free Press Staff Writer here are precious few — if any — rusty-patch bumblebees left in Vermont to benefit from its weeks-old protection as an endangered species. Ditto for the Ashton cuckoo bumblebee, which hasn’t been seen in these parts in more than a decade. The yellow-banded bumblebee, also a once-common Read more …


‘Bee lawns’ have thyme, clover and yarrow: Urban meadows and dandelions beneficial to birds, bees

Published on April 6, 2015

The Associated Press Turf grass may be an attractive groundcover for homeowners but it doesn’t hold much appeal for pollinators. Add some broadleaf plants with flowers to the mix, however, and it’s a different story: great forage for the birds and the bees. Lower maintenance, too. “Bee lawns aren’t 100 percent flowers. They have some Read more …


U.S. to halt expanded use of some insecticides amid honey bee decline

Published on April 3, 2015

Reuters The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Thursday it was unlikely to approve new or expanded uses of certain pesticides while it evaluates the risks they may pose to honey bees. The so-called neonicotinoid pesticides are routinely used in agriculture and applied to plants and trees in gardens and parks. But their widespread Read more …


U.S. to halt expanded use of some insecticides amid honey bee decline

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Reuters The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Thursday it was unlikely to approve new or expanded uses of certain pesticides while it evaluates the risks they may pose to honey bees. The so-called neonicotinoid pesticides are routinely used in agriculture and applied to plants and trees in gardens and parks. But their widespread Read more …


Portland bans insecticide to protect declining honey bees

Published on April 1, 2015

By Laura Zuckerman, Reuters Oregon’s biggest city on Wednesday banned the use of an insecticide on city lands blamed by conservationists as a factor in the decline of honey bees in recent years. Despite protests from farmers who argued the insecticide was crucial for crop production, the Portland City Commission voted unanimously to immediately suspend Read more …


Portland bans ‘neonicotinoid’ pesticide

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By Jennifer Anderson, Portland Tribune The Portland City Council on voted Wednesday to ban the use of neonicioinoid pesticides, which the city currently uses at the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park and at Peninsula Park. Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz introduced the ordinance last Wednesday, with support by advocates including the Xerces Society, Audubon Read more …


Portland bans use of insecticides believed to be harmful to bees on city property

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By Andrew Theen, The Oregonian Portland banned the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, a wide-ranging classification of chemical pest killers, on city-owned property. The City Council unanimously approved an emergency ordinance Wednesday, making the insecticide ban effective immediately. “We’re doing another good thing for the people of Portland, Oregon, the United States, maybe the entire world,” Read more …


Portland bans use of insecticides believed to be harmful to bees on city property

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Andrew Theen, The Oregonian Portland banned the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, a wide-ranging classification of chemical pest killers, on city-owned property. The City Council unanimously approved an emergency ordinance Wednesday, making the insecticide ban effective immediately. “We’re doing another good thing for the people of Portland, Oregon, the United States, maybe the entire world,” said Read more …


Buzz Kill: Hundreds of European Bee Species Threatened With Extinction

Published on March 26, 2015

By John R. Platt, TakePart.com Are we about to see a pollinator apocalypse in Europe? That’s the buzz from the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which has just released a report warning that at least 9.2 percent of Europe’s 1,965 wild bee species are threatened with extinction. Another 5.2 percent, the report found, are Read more …


Hello, honey: Invite bees for a lush garden

Published on March 19, 2015

By Melissa Erickson, The Carthage Press If you’re looking forward to an early summer tomato or a bumper crop of sugar snap peas, you’ll need to attract pollinators to your garden. Bees are one of your best bets. “Bees are as important to a garden as they are to any other habitat,” said Matthew Shepherd, Read more …


North American monarchs imperiled

Published on March 17, 2015

By Steve Law, Portland Tribune North American monarch butterflies are vulnerable to extinction, according to a new assessment by NatureServe and the Portland-based Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. The assessment was done as part of a report for the U.S. Forest Service, called Conservation Status and Ecology of the Monarch Butterfly in the United States, Read more …


Insectophilia

Published on March 4, 2015

By Andrea Appleton, Aeon I’m standing in the cottage in the south of France where the entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre was born in 1823. Cooking utensils and a rosary hang on the wall. Through the window, the whitewashed village just beyond glows in the morning light. Or so it seems. We are actually in the basement Read more …


Oregon bans use of bee-killing insecticides on linden trees

Published on February 27, 2015

By Kelly House, The Oregonian A state rule established Friday bans the use of four types of bee-killing insecticides on linden trees and related species. The rule, enacted at the request of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, makes it illegal to spray lindens, basswood trees and their relatives with any product containing dinotefuran, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam Read more …


If We’re Serious about Saving Bees and Butterflies, Here’s What We Should Do

Published on February 25, 2015

Ecological Gardening Because I use judiciously applied herbicides to help control invasive plant species in the forest preserves, I respect both the power and usefulness of these toxic chemicals [see note below]. However, out of this respect and long professional and volunteer experience grows a conviction that pollinator, beneficial insect, and general ecosystem health will Read more …


Plant Diversity a Boon for Declining Bees

Published on February 19, 2015

By Jan Sluizer, Voice of America Could the right mix of flowers, shrubs and grasses help resuscitate North America’s rapidly declining bee populations? Researchers are trying to find out. “With agricultural intensification, with urbanization, bees have lost so much of the habitat that they rely on for forage. Pollen and nectar make up 100 percent Read more …


Monarch butterfly population makes a modest rebound

Published on January 29, 2015

By Peter Fimrite, SF Gate The troubled monarch butterfly, whose winter migration is one of the most remarkable of any species, rebounded this year, raising hopes for the brilliant orange and black insect, according to the yearly count. Some 56.5 million monarchs are gathered in Mexico for the winter after their amazing trek across the Read more …


Monarch butterflies rebound slightly amid milkweed planting

Published on January 28, 2015

By Bruce Finley, The Denver Post The latest monarch butterfly count found that the population poised to migrate through the United States rebounded from last year’s record low — but still ranks second-lowest on record. Monarch numbers increased to 56.5 million from 33.5 million, according to data collected by the World Wildlife Fund and announced Read more …


Monarch butterfly count rises as conservationists warn of extinction

Published on January 27, 2015

By Reuters A tally of monarch butterflies wintering in Mexico rose to 56. 5 million this year from a record low of 34 million last year but conservationists said on Tuesday the increase was too slight to reduce the threat of extinction facing the insect. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said last month the Read more …


Protection sought for plummeting monarch butterfly population

Published on January 13, 2015

By Jean Bartlett, San Jose Mercury News Recently two Ocean Shore Elementary School teachers, second grade teacher Fran Quartini and third grade teacher Sheila Gamble-Dorn, took their respective students on a field trip to the Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz. This is an annual classroom visit for both Read more …


Gardening to Help Monarch Butterflies? Plant Natives.

Published on January 9, 2015

By Chris Clarke, KCET With the recent declines in numbers of monarch butterflies leading to the popular insect becoming a candidate for listing as an endangered species, more and more gardeners are thinking about growing milkweed. Milkweed, after all, if the only kind of plant monarch caterpillars can eat, and so growing milkweed in your Read more …


US government considers placing monarch butterfly on endangered list

Published on January 7, 2015

By Expositor Staff, The Manitoulin Expositor The New Year begins with a glimmering of hope for the embattled ranks of the monarch butterfly, the amazing multi-coloured insect whose continent spanning migration epitomizes warm hazy summer days for most North Americans, with the announcement that the US Fish and Wildlife Service is responding to a petition Read more …


Endangered species status review ordered for monarch butterfly

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By Janell Thomas, Farm Futures The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct a status review of the monarch butterfly under the Endangered Species Act, it said late last month, in response to a petition from several environmental groups. The FWS says many monarchs migrate between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, logging journeys of more Read more …


The REAL Best Books of 2014

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By Responsible Eating and Living The REAL picks for 2014 consist of an eclectic list of 10 books that represent the wide reach of our mission here at Responsible Eating And Living, educating the public about the health and environmental benefits of transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle. Each book is outstanding in its own right. Read more …


Monarchs may win ‘endangered species’ protection

Published on January 6, 2015

By The Ecologist Endangered Species Act protection may be warranted for Monarch butterflies, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The agency will now conduct a one-year status review on monarchs, which have declined by 90% in the past 20 years. The migratory butterflies are especially vulnerable as they migrate vast distances of 3,000 Read more …


Monarch butterfly considered for federal protection

Published on January 5, 2015

By Dylan J. Darling, The Bulletin A far-flying butterfly known to pass through Central Oregon may land on the Endangered Species list. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week announced that it has begun a status review for the monarch butterfly, in which the agency will determine whether the black-and-orange winged insect warrants federal Read more …


Monarch Butterflies Could Gain Endangered Species Protection

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By John R. Platt, Scientific American The flutter of a single butterfly’s wings may or may not be capable of causing tsunamis, but the loss of millions of butterflies is definitely being felt here in North America. Populations of the iconic and beloved monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus plexippus) have dropped an astonishing 96.5 percent over Read more …


Monarchs being pushed toward extinction?

Published on January 2, 2015

By Lee Shearer, Athens Banner-Herald Genetically engineered crops are driving the iconic monarch butterfly toward extinction, according to scientists and environmentalits. Federal officials think they may have a case. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week announced a year-long review of the groups’ petition to give the monarch protection under the federal Endangered Species Read more …


Monarch butterfly may get protected status

Published on January 1, 2015

By Samantha Clark, Santa Cruz Sentinel The monarch butterfly is known for its spectacular 3,000-mile migration each year from Mexico to Canada and back. “It’s a unique migration,” said Lincoln Brower, a biologist at Sweet Briar College and arguably the most established monarch butterfly expert. “Losing it will be like losing ‘Gone with the Wind’ Read more …


The monarch butterfly might end up on the endangered species list this year

Published on December 31, 2014

By Abby Ohlheiser, Washington Post After conservationists warned that the monarch butterfly’s population is declining in a “deadly free fall,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are reviewing a proposal to include it on the endangered species list, the federal agency announced this week. Over the past 20 years, the monarch population has fallen by Read more …


Monarch butterfly could get endangered species protection

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By Michael Casey, CBS News Famous for its marathon migration across North America, the monarch butterfly has seen its numbers drop almost 90 percent in the past two decades. Now, the iconic insect with the orange and black wings may soon get a helping hand. The federal government announced this week that it would consider Read more …


Monarch Butterfly May Join Endangered Species List

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By Patrick J. Kiger, Discovery News Over the past 20 years, North America’s population of monarch butterflies has declined by a catastrophic 90 percent, a plight that may be caused by pesticides and loss of the once-vast acres of wild milkweed that are the creatures’ food source. But now with some fearing that the butterflies Read more …


Monarch butterfly numbers may come back from record low

Published on December 30, 2014

By the Associated Press, CBC News More monarch butterflies appear to have made the long flight from Canada and the U.S. to their winter nesting ground in western Mexico, raising hopes after their number dropped to a record low last year. But experts still fear that unusually cold temperatures will threaten the orange and black Read more …


Monarchs Come a Step Closer to Getting Much Needed Protection

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Alicia Graef, Care2 As conservationists continue to worry about the possibility of a world without monarchs, they’ve gotten some hope with an announcement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that federal protection may be warranted for these iconic butterflies. In August, the Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Xerces Society for Read more …


Monarch butterfly eyed for possible U.S. endangered species protection

Published on December 29, 2014

By Laura Zuckerman, Reuters Monarch butterflies may warrant U.S. Endangered Species Act protection because of farm-related habitat loss blamed for sharp declines in cross-country migrations of the orange-and-black insects, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said on Monday. Monarch populations are estimated to have fallen by as much as 90 percent during the past two Read more …


A Ghost in the Making: Photographing the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee

Published on December 16, 2014

By International League of Conservation Photographers, National Geographic Voices Over the past two years I have become increasingly fascinated, okay obsessed, with North America’s native bees. Although I initially began photographing them in my backyard in between assignments it didn’t take long for me to become mesmerized by the lives of these remarkable, often minute Read more …


Rare insect imperiled by retreating ice in Glacier National Park

Published on December 5, 2014

By Louis Sahagun, The LA Times Shrinking glaciers and rising stream temperatures in Montana’s Glacier National Park are prompting concerns about the impacts on surrounding ecological systems after perennial streams of melted ice disappear. Of particular concern is the fate of a rare aquatic insect, the western glacier stonefly, which is only found in the Read more …


Pollinator Recommendations Deliver A Sting

Published on December 2, 2014

By Geoffrey Riley & Charlotte Duren, Jefferson Public Radio The thousands of bees that died in Oregon a couple of summers ago did not die in vain. The die-off, a result of pesticide use, increased awareness of both the value of bees (and other pollinators) and the perils of ignorance in chemical use. The Xerces Read more …


Oyster growers asking for permission to use new type of pesticide

Published on November 29, 2014

By Jake Schild, The Daily World State regulators are considering a proposal from the Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association to use the pesticide imidacloprid to eliminate the problem of burrowing shrimp. The growers association believes the pesticide is a safer alternative to carbaryl, which was previously used to take care of the problem, but Read more …


My View: Making space for bees in our crowded landscapes can help solve food production woes

Published on November 25, 2014

By Matthew Shepherd and Eric Lee-Mader, Portland Tribune There are photos and videos circulating on the Web of a crop duster seed-bombing wildflowers to create a meadow for bees that challenges our expectations. What’s a plane usually used for killing insects doing trying to save them? In grabbing our attention, it shines a spotlight onto Read more …


Bee death task force’s recommendations to Oregon lawmakers too weak, conservationists argue

Published on November 24, 2014

By Kelly House, The Oregonian A state task force charged with helping Oregon lawmakers respond to honeybee die-offs has released its final report, spurring outcry from one task force member who argues the suggestions are too weak. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation – one of eight groups with a voting member on the task Read more …


9 extraordinary facts about North America’s native bees

Published on November 18, 2014

By Jaymi Heimbuch, Mother Nature Network We all know bees are amazing. Without these pollinators, humans and many other creatures would starve to death. But there is so much about bees that most of us don’t realize, including the sheer amount of diversity. There are over 4,000 species of native bees in North America alone. Read more …


Bees aren’t the only pollinators you can attract

Published on November 17, 2014

Dean Fosdick, The Associated Press The dramatic loss of honeybees to changing land use, viruses and pesticides is alarming, and they are irreplaceable as pollinators. But you can somewhat offset their loss by attracting alternative pollinators such as beetles, butterflies and moths, dragonflies, feral bees, wasps and flower flies. Attracting these beneficial insects requires a Read more …


The buzz on native bees

Published on November 8, 2014

By Kailey Roberts, the Daily Sun Large moths with their wings carefully spread, small beetles, and several bee species fill the display boxes of pinned insects sitting on the tables in the Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church’s main hall. Standing in front of this display, Kristen Potter, an insect physiologist at Northern Arizona University, Read more …


Pollinator task force backs pesticide reporting system

Published on October 28, 2014

Mateusz Perkowski, Capital Press A pollinator health task force is recommending that Oregon lawmakers reactivate a statewide pesticide use reporting system and pay for a “state of the art” facility to diagnose bee diseases. The Oregon Legislature created the task force last year to make recommendations for improving pollinator health instead of restricting the use Read more …


Clover comeback? ‘Bee lawns’ gaining favor

Published on October 21, 2014

By Dean Fosdick, AP Turf grass may be an attractive groundcover for homeowners but it doesn’t hold much appeal for pollinators. Add some broadleaf plants with flowers to the mix, however, and it’s a different story: great forage for the birds and the bees. Lower maintenance, too. “Bee lawns aren’t 100 percent flowers. They have Read more …


As Dwindling Monarch Butterflies Make Their Migration, Feds Try to Save Them

Published on October 10, 2014

By Eve Conant, National Geographic CAPE MAY POINT, New Jersey—Two years ago migrating monarch butterflies transformed the lush gardens of Cape May Point into a series of “giant orange snowglobes.” That’s how Mark Garland of the Monarch Monitoring Project describes the good monarch days, the kind of days when thousands fly overhead. There’s been no Read more …


Seeds for bees: Worries drive new plantings for pollinators

Published on October 6, 2014

By Dan Gunderson, MPR News Jim Johansen harvests native grass seeds that his company sells to farmers for conservation projects. But seed demand is shifting to native wildflowers. Worry over the widespread deaths of honey bees has led the seed company Prairie Restoration to increase production of plants that provide habitat for pollinators, including bees Read more …


Rare rusty-patched bumble bee discovered in Virginia survey

Published on October 3, 2014

SmithsonianScience.org The rusty-patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis), which has not been seen in the eastern United States in five years, has been found by a Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute research team at Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane, Va. This formerly common bee has disappeared from 87 percent of its range in the Upper Midwest Read more …


José Andrés: Why We Need to Protect Monarch Butterflies

Published on September 23, 2014

By José Andrés, The Plate – NationalGeographic.com I have a special connection to monarch butterflies. If you’ve been to my Mexican restaurant in Washington, DC, you may understand. You see, the beautiful mobiles of butterflies twirling from the ceiling represent this forest located in Central Mexico filled with Oyamel fir trees, which is also the Read more …


Researchers: Keep An Eye Out For Tagged Monarch Butterflies

Published on September 22, 2014

By Monica Spain, KPLU 88.5 If you’re lucky enough to spot a lacy monarch butterfly as it heads south for winter, look closely. You might see something unusual on its wing. In a town in northern California, a young girl noticed a white sticker with an email address on a butterfly’s wing when it landed Read more …


‘Canary in the cornfield’: monarch butterfly may get threatened species status

Published on September 8, 2014

By Morgan Erickson-Davis, mongabay.com Monarch butterflies were once a common sight throughout the North American heartland. In Mexico, where they overwinter, single trees would often be covered in thousands. But declines in milkweed – their caterpillars’ only source of food – have led to a 90 percent decline in monarch numbers. Now, the U.S. Fish Read more …


Loss of habitat, milkweed cited in fall of monarch butterflies

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By Rick Wills, Trib Total Media As many as 50 people could attend the monarch butterfly tagging event on Saturday in Moraine State Park. Yet the group will be lucky if it tags a single one, park officials say. “They are just not around the way they used to be. I have probably only seen Read more …


Petition Seeks to Protect Monarchs

Published on September 5, 2014

By Jim Lundstrom, Peninsula Pulse A legal petition was filed on Aug. 26 with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that seeks Endangered Species Act protection for monarch butterflies. The petition says there has been a 90 percent decline in monarchs in the past two decades. The petitioners say the decline is due to the Read more …


Conservationists fight for monarch butterfly protections

Published on September 4, 2014

By Brooks Hays, UPI COLLEGE STATION, Texas,– Monarch butterflies have begun their 3,000-mile trek southward; with summer coming to a close in Canada, it’s time to make their way to Mexico for the winter. It sounds like a nice life, but it’s a life that’s increasingly under siege, scientists say. Now, some are arguing federal Read more …


Groups seek glyphosate limits to protect butterflies

Published on September 3, 2014

By Mateusz Perkowski, Capital Press Monarch butterflies are declining in number due to herbicide spraying related to biotech crops, environmental groups claim. Environmental groups seeking federal protection for monarch butterflies blame the use of genetically modified crops for the insect’s steep decline. Petitioners claim that while there were as many as 1 billion monarchs as Read more …


Environmentalists Petition to Put the Monarch Butterfly on the Endangered Species List as Its Population Plummets

Published on August 28, 2014

By Richard Conniff With Labor Day just ahead, people on both coasts and across the Great Plains should be celebrating the start of one of North America’s great migrations. The spectacle of monarch butterflies working their way back to their winter breeding grounds, across hundreds or thousands of miles, is the longest known insect migration Read more …


Groups seek U.S. protection for monarch butterflies

Published on August 27, 2014

By Sandy Bauers, Inquirer GreenSpace Columnist In a little less than 20 years, monarch butterflies — those orange icons of the garden — have declined more than 90 percent. On Tuesday, several groups and long-time monarch scientist Lincoln Brower filed a legal petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection Read more …


‘Threatened’ status sought for monarch butterfly

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By Associated Press WILMINGTON, Del. — Three conservation groups and a butterfly expert are asking the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to list the monarch butterfly as a threatened species. The News-Journal of Wilmington, Del. (http://delonline.us/1vlX7L8 ) reports the petitioners blamed farming practices Tuesday for a loss of milkweed, a plant the butterflies rely on Read more …


Iconic monarch butterfly needs protection as endangered species, advocacy groups say in US petition

Published on August 26, 2014

By Martha Neil, ABA Journal An iconic American butterfly needs protection as an endangered species because of climate change, the widespread use of a herbicide that has eliminated much of its food supply, and other factors, advocacy groups contend. Joined by scientist Lincoln Brower, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Food Safety and Read more …


Bee-Killing Pesticides Found in Midwest Rivers

Published on August 4, 2014

Pesticides linked to declining bee and bird populations have been found in streams across the upper Midwest, raising yet more concerns about these chemicals’ environmental effects. Researchers from the United States Geological Survey tested waters at nine sites in Iowa and Nebraska. They found neonicotinoids in each, frequently at levels that may harm insects and Read more …


Best of Portland 2014: Best Animals

Published on July 23, 2014

By Kate Wilson, Willamette Week Bugs don’t have many human allies. Mostly, they get squashed, swatted, sprayed or stuck to rolls of poisoned paper. But, in Portland, someone wants to protect them. The Xerces Society (xerces.org) pressures lawmakers to regulate the interstate transport of bumblebees, protect the tiny habitat of the caddisfly and advocate for Read more …


How to garden for bumblebees

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By Tom Oder, Mother Nature Network Would you like to have your neighbors buzzing about how good your garden looks? There’s an easy way to do that and help an important native pollinator. Plant a bumblebee friendly garden. You’ll do yourself and bumblebees a favor. Several once-common species of North American bumblebees are suffering significant Read more …


Bee-Killing Pesticides Linked To Bird Declines

Published on July 16, 2014

By Anna V. Smith, Eugene Weekly The latest in a number of recent studies looking at the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides has shown declining bird populations in areas where the pesticides are used in high concentrations. Neonics have already been associated with bee die-offs, and a new study published in Nature found that common bird Read more …


Judge sets deadline for decision on butterfly

Published on July 15, 2014

By Mateusz Perkowski, Capital Press PORTLAND — A federal judge has given the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has until the end of June 2015 to decide whether to extend Endangered Species Act protection to the Leona’s little blue butterfly, a rare species found only in Oregon’s Klamath County. U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman has Read more …


Save the Bees! How You Can Help Protect Our Native Bumblebees From Extinction

Published on July 14, 2014

By Linda Lombardi, Vet Street These days, you hear a lot about the plight of honeybees and how crucial they are to the food we eat. What you don’t often hear is that honeybees are actually latecomers to this continent — they were introduced by European settlers. And flowers and fruits got along fine before Read more …


Singer encourages campers to give bees a chance

Published on July 10, 2014

By Nathaniel Axtell, Times-News Staff Writer ZIRCONIA — Usually when folk singer Dar Williams travels to Western North Carolina on tour, she draws crowds of excited fans to Asheville venues such as The Grey Eagle or The Orange Peel. But Williams embarked on a more low-key tour of the region this week, with the goal Read more …


One group wants to protect agriculture, one bee hive at a time

Published on July 9, 2014

By Hillary Epperson, Food Tank The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is promoting awareness for saving bees and other pollinators. Without bees to pollinate, agriculture and food production could be in danger, the group says. Food Tank recently had the opportunity to ask The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation some questions about their efforts to Read more …