Xerces News Archive

Project to impact native pollinators

Published on October 12, 2010

By: Other News, www.farmanddairy.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. Fruits and nuts are high value crops in the Mid-Atlantic states worth over $300 million and are being heavily impacted by honey bee shortages for pollination.

Rare bumblebees make comeback in Kent and Sussex

Published on October 7, 2010

BBC News England

England’s five rarest bumblebees have made a comeback in parts of Kent and Sussex, conservationists have said.

The five threatened species have spread their geographic range as a result of environmental schemes in Dungeness and Romney Marsh.

The Plight of the Bees

Published on

By Marla Spivak, Eric Mader, Mace Vaughan, and Ed Euliss Jr in Environmental Science and Technology

Some environmental issues polarize people, producing weary
political stalemates of indecision and inaction. Others,
however, grab hold of our most primeval instincts, causing
us to reach deeply into our memories of childhood, and our
first direct experiences with nature: the bumble bee nest we
poked at with a stick; the man at the county fair with the bee
beard. Those memories expand backward in time to our
barefoot ancestors who climbed trees and robbed honey.
They help define the human experience and provide context
to our own place in the world.

North state bumblebee goes missing

Published on September 27, 2010

By: Laura Christman, www.redding.com

Robbin Thorp is on a lonely search for a single bee. He’s looked low and high, hoping to spot Franklin’s bumblebee. The last time he saw one was August 2006 on Mt. Ashland in Oregon. The bee might be extinct. Thorp, a bumblebee authority and emeritus entomology professor at the University of California at Davis, remains hopeful that it isn’t. That’s why he keeps looking.

Improving pollinator habitat nationwide

Published on September 24, 2010

By: Kathy Keatley Garvey, UC Newsroom

DAVIS — Native pollinator specialist Neal Williams, assistant professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, has received a three-year federally funded research grant aimed at improving pollinator habitat plantings in nationwide agricultural settings.

Pollinator Value of NRCS Plant Releases used in Conservation Plantings

Published on September 7, 2010

The Plant Materials Program of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service has been involved in the collection, evaluation, selection and increase of conservation plants for over 75 years. The Plant Materials Centers (PMC), and their conservation partners, have selected and made available to the public over 600 grasses, forbs, legumes and trees to address conservation issues Read more …

Anger flutters over ‘Butterfly Town USA’

Published on August 29, 2010

By: Steve Chawkins, Los Angeles Times

Pacific Grove residents demand the city make up for last year’s pruning that reduced the eucalyptus branches in a monarch sanctuary. What if the butterflies don’t return, they ask

Stanislaus garden project is a smorgasbord for pollinators

Published on August 18, 2010

by: John Holland, The Modesto Bee

These gardeners don’t mind if bees buzz about their plot south of Modesto. They are experimenting with flowering plants that could provide a wide variety of pollen for the insects to eat.

Farm Bill Makes Room for Pollinators

Published on August 12, 2010

By Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks

Day-long course designed to help land managers plan for pollinating invertebrates WASHINGTON, DC — The 2008 Farm Bill made pollinators and their habitat a conservation priority for every USDA land manager and conservationist. On Thursday, Sept. 2, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation will conduct a training session from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., providing an overview of pollinator-specific language within the Farm Bill and how to translate that language into on-the-ground conservation. A pollinator is a biotic agent, usually an insect, that moves from plant to plant, aiding in plant reproduction and growth.

Native Pollinators: Key to sustainable fruit production?

Published on August 9, 2010

By David Tenenbaum, University of Wisconsin-Madison

As a group of students ogles wild flowers on a sunny day at the UW Arboretum, the blooming dotted mint, iron weed and black-eyed susans are certainly glorious. But these adult students are not concentrating on the flowers. Instead, they are focusing on the insects busily pollinating those blooms. Wasps. Flies. Beetles. And a dozen species of native bees, including several species of bumblebee.

Researchers Ponder Crisis of Honey Bee Decline

Published on July 30, 2010

By Chris Torres, Lancaster Farming

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Bees are in trouble. Serious trouble. But solving their plight may be as complicated as figuring out why they are dying off.

Entomologist on mission to save Franklin’s Bumble Bee

Published on July 27, 2010

By Kathy Keatley Garvey, University of California Newsroom

Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp of the University of California, Davis, hopes that the critically imperiled Franklin’s bumble bee will soon be listed as an “endangered species” under the Endangered Species Act.

Beauty And The Bees

Published on July 21, 2010

By Sarah Schmidt, World Ark Contributor

On the Omeg family’s Oregon cherry orchard, a 10-foot perimeter of goldenrod, catmint and blanket flower surrounds the 350 acres of trees. The flowers run between the rows, too, and in one section of the orchard, four 30-foot diameter circular patches sport a host of native prairie grasses that produce flowers of their own. It’s a lovely display, but Mike Omeg, the fifth-generation family member who now runs the orchard, didn’t work untold hours over the past three years just to make his farm prettier. The flowers host several species of bumblebee, orchard mason bees, and sweat bees, as well as monarch and swallowtail butterflies, all of which are, well, busy as bees, as they fly from blossom to blossom doing what they’re uniquely qualified for—pollinating food crops.

Podcast: Sustainable Agriculture Spotlight

Published on July 20, 2010

With Jeff Birkby, VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network

“Our nation’s fruit, nut, and vegetable supply depends on insect pollinators. But our conventional agricultural systems aren’t friendly to pollinating insects. Conventional agriculture also relies heavily on only one insect, the European honeybee, to pollinate most of our crops. In this episode, host Jeff Birkby interviews Eric Mader, National Pollinator Outreach Coordinator for the nonprofit Xerces Society. Also joining the program will be Rex Dufour of the National Center for Appropriate Technology. Eric and Rex will discuss the importance of pollinators in sustainable agriculture, and ways farmers and gardeners can attract beneficial insects to pollinate crops.”

Alabama butterflies radiant, but ‘picture is not rosy,’ expert sayst says

Published on July 17, 2010

By Thomas Spencer, The Birmingham News

BRENT — Above the dirt road, under a canopy of green in the midst of Oakmulgee District of the Talladega National Forest, the sky is suddenly aflutter with dozens of wide-winged butterflies.

Eastern tiger swallowtails, flash their yellow and black. Spicebush swallowtails flap with big black wings, highlighted by blue, white and orange. Tiny blue summer azures bob frenetically among them.

Group seeks endangered listing for bumblebee

Published on June 23, 2010

by Jeff Bernard, Los Angeles Times

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — A conservation group filed a petition Wednesday to add a bumblebee from Southern Oregon and Northern California to the endangered species list.

Endangered species protection sought for threatened Northwest bumble bee

Published on

by Jason Houk, Medford City Buzz Examiner

A conservation group wants to add a Northwest bumblebee to the endangered species list. Franklin’s bumblebee, once endemic to southern Oregon and northern California is now threatened with possible extinction.

Endangered Species Act protection sought for Franklin’s bumble bee

Published on

by Sarah Phelan, San Francisco Bay Guardian

I’ve been obsessed with bees in general, and bumble bees in particular for some time now. I’m fascinated by the bumble bee’s thick tundra- adapted pelt that allows it to forage for nectar in way colder temperatures than your average sun-loving Italian honey bee.

7 Hawaiian bees studied for federal protection

Published on June 18, 2010

by Travis Kaya, Star Advertiser

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering listing seven Hawaiian yellow-faced bee species for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Protecting precious pollinators: Feds considering steps to save yellow-faced bees

Published on June 17, 2010

by Kim Eaton, West Hawaii Today

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to further research whether several species of the Hawaiian yellow-faced bee should be protected and is soliciting additional information about the species for its review.

Leona’s little blue butterfly in Klamath County, Oregon, pushed as endangered

Published on May 20, 2010

by The Oregonian

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Oregon Wild and noted butterfly expert Dr. David V. McCorkle filed a petition last week seeking Endangered Species Act protection for Leona’s little blue butterfly.

Bark beetle debate adds fuel to the wildfire

Published on March 5, 2010

By Doyle Rice, USA TODAY

Across the Western USA, the complex relationship between forests, logging, wildfires, drought, climate change, and yes, even beetles, remains a controversial challenge for politicians, logging interests, and environmentalists.

Over the past decade, bark beetle outbreaks have added even more fuel to the controversy, as massive tree-eating armies of the insects have chewed through tens of millions of acres of pine forests throughout the West.

Battling beetles may not reduce fire risks — report

Published on March 4, 2010

By Eryn Gable, Land Letter

Tree thinning and logging across millions of acres of Western lodgepole pine and spruce-fir forest is unlikely to reduce fire risk or alleviate future large-scale epidemics of bark beetles, according to a new report prepared by forest ecologists.

“Extensive areas of dead trees have understandably led to widespread concern about the increased risk for forest fires,” said Dominik Kulakowski, one of the report’s authors and a professor of geography and biology at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. “This is a logical concern, but the best available science indicates that the occurrence of large fires in lodgepole pine and spruce-fir forests is mainly influenced by climatic conditions, particularly drought.”

Disease dooming native bumblebees

Published on January 13, 2010

By Lynda Mapes, The Seattle Times

They work in the cold when honeybees are still snug in their hives, and cloudy days don’t stop them either.

Bumblebees are workhorse pollinators, depended on to pollinate everything from cranberries and blueberries to hothouse tomatoes.

But native bumblebees are in trouble, victims of diseases some scientists say are spread by commercial bumblebees shipped around North America to pollinate crops.

While much attention has been given to the plight of European honeybees, dying in droves in so-called colony collapse disorder, the sharp decline of some species of native bumblebees has been largely overlooked.

The Xerces Society, based in Portland, several other environment groups and prominent entomologists joined together this week in supporting a citizen petition asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to regulate the commercial bumblebee industry.

Groups ask U.S. to regulate shipping of commercial bumblebees

Published on

By Adrian Higgins, The Washington Post

Conservation groups said four species of native bumblebees are close to extinction and called on the federal government Tuesday to begin regulating the shipping of bees raised commercially as crop pollinators.

Researchers believe the precipitous declines in the species are being caused by diseases linked to the cultivation of a species of native bumblebee sold to farmers. The bees are used to increase fruit yield in a number of crops, including hothouse tomatoes and field-grown raspberries and blueberries.

During the past decade, wild bee species “went from being — some of them — very common to species that are now going extinct,” said Scott Hoffman Black, executive director of the Xerces Society.

In the Eastern United States, the yellow-banded and rusty-patched bumblebees have declined markedly. In Western states, populations of the Franklin’s and Western bumblebees have crashed, according to scientists. “We believe this is a disease that has been spread by commercial bumblebees because these [wild] species are closely related to one of the species moved to Europe [for rearing] and then moved back,” Black said.

Groups seek regulation of bumblebee shipments

Published on January 12, 2010

By Jeff Barnard, the Associated Press

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Conservation groups and scientists want federal agricultural authorities to start regulating shipments of commercially domesticated bumblebees — used to pollinate crops — to protect wild bumblebees from diseases threatening their survival.

The groups said Tuesday that four species of bumblebees once common in the United States have seen drastic declines — and the evidence points to diseases spreading out of greenhouses that use domesticated bumblebees.

”This is the tip of the iceberg,” said Scott Hoffman Black, executive director of the Xerces Society, an insect conservation group based in Portland. ”Bumblebees need to be regulated or we may see other diseases spread to bumblebees and potentially other bees.”

Procedural issues lead to ban of Bayer pesticide

Published on January 1, 2010

By Rick Wills, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

A federal judge banned the sale of a Bayer CropScience pesticide that environmental groups and commercial beekeepers say is potentially toxic to the nation’s threatened honeybee population.

Both Bayer CropScience, a North Carolina subsidiary of Bayer AG, and the Environmental Protection Agency have 60 days to appeal the decision of Manhattan U.S. District Judge Denise Cote.

The ban would make the sale of spirotetramat, known by the trade names Movento and Ultor, illegal in the United States after Jan. 15.

Bayer ‘Disappointed’ in Ruling on Chemical That May Harm Bees

Published on December 31, 2009

By Alan Bjerga, Bloomberg.com

A Bayer AG unit is “disappointed” by a U.S. judge’s ruling that may prevent distribution of its spirotetramat insecticide, a spokesman said. Environmental groups say the chemical causes harm to honeybees.

U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote on Dec. 23 ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to rescind approval for spirotetramat, which inhibits cell reproduction in insects. Cote said the EPA didn’t properly seek comments or publicize the review process. The judge in New York ordered the ruling stayed until Jan. 15 and sent the matter back to the EPA.

Great White — the giant Palouse earthworm

Published on November 20, 2009

By Leah Sottile, The Pacific Northwest Inlander

The giant Palouse earthworm can’t be found — yet it’s dividing the Palouse

Jodi Johnson-Maynard will tell you this is not a quest. It’s not her personal mission or a scientific crusade. She’s reluctant to call it much of anything, in fact.

Her search for the giant Palouse earthworm is one she conducts with calculated scientific professionalism: She refuses to take sides, she will only comment on facts — the black and white. Not the gray.

Plight of the bumble bee

Published on September 14, 2009

By Adam Federman, Earth Island Journal

Bombus franklini, a North American bumblebee, was last seen on August 9, 2006. Professor Emeritus Robbin Thorp, an entomologist at UC Davis, was doing survey work on Mt. Ashland in Oregon when he saw a single worker on a flower, Sulphur eriogonum, near the Pacific Crest Trail. He had last seen the bee in 2003, roughly in the same area, where it had once been very common. “August ninth,” Thorp says. “I’ve got that indelibly emblazoned in my mind.”

Be friend, not enemy, to helpful bumblebee

Published on August 26, 2009

By Cindy Decker, The Columbus Dispatch

If my commitment to protect all animals were ever to waver, it would have happened the instant a bumblebee jammed her stinger into my cheek. The attack — in my opinion — was unprovoked, although clearly she did not agree. Bumblebees are fairly tolerant, operating under a policy of “Live and let live.” They won’t bother you unless you bother them…

Park County caddisfly species eyed for endangered list

Published on July 20, 2009

By Danny Ramey, The Flume

The Susan’s purse-making caddisfly, which is found in one part of Park County, is under consideration to be put on the federal list of threatened and endangered wildlife and plants, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on July 8.

The announcement came after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reviewed a petition submitted by The Xerces Society, Center Native Ecosystems, WildEarth Guardians, and Western Watersheds Project, and deemed that the petition provided enough evidence to consider adding the caddisfly to the list, said Patty Gelatt, acting Western Colorado supervisor for the Ecological Services branch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Xerces Society Receives $458,000 from the NRCS Conservation Innovation Program

Published on July 15, 2009

Native pollinators across the United States are in decline, especially in heavily managed landscapes. Managed pollinators, including honey bees, are in need of increased pollen diversity to help bolster their resistance to disease, pesticides, and other stresses. In response to this concern, the Natural Resource Conservation Service has awarded the following two grants to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation:

Grant 1. $255,312 to Develop and Test Pollinator Habitat Job Sheets for Six Regions of the U.S.
Grant 2. $202,631 to Promote Agricultural Sustainability through Conserving Beneficial Insects: Restoring Pollination and Pest Control Services on Farms in California’s Central Valley, Phase II.

What’s the buzz about bees?

Published on June 16, 2009

By David L. Sperling, Wisconsin Natural Resources

Simple steps can bolster native bees and hedge our bets against honey bee declines.

A sustained drop in honey bee populations nationwide has farmers and orchardists making backup plans to ensure their crops are adequately pollinated. Buried among the stories about colony collapse disorder and potential causes of bee die-offs — like stress, pesticides, pathogens and parasites — is some familiar advice. Just as a key to staving off invasive species is maintaining biological diversity, so too a key to keeping crops fruitful and flowers blooming is building up native bee populations.

The Buzz on Native Pollinators

Published on May 18, 2009

By Laura Tangley, National Wildlife

WHEN ECOLOGIST Rachel Winfree set out to survey native bees in the Delaware Valley of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, she was not optimistic about her results. Not only is the region far from any known hot spots of bee diversity, such as the U.S. Southwest, “New Jersey is also the most densely populated state in the country,” says Winfree, an assistant professor in the Department of Entomology at Rutgers University. “I was worried that after getting funding and hiring a staff, the project would turn out to be a waste of time.”

Tiger beetle’s fate may hang in critical habitat designation

Published on May 3, 2009

By Algis J. Laukaitis, Lincoln Journal Star
May 3, 2009

Just how much critical habitat or land does the endangered Salt Creek tiger beetle need to survive?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says 1,933 acres. Some scientists say at least 15,000 acres, and 36,000 acres would be even better.

The critical habitat issue could decide the fate of the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle population north of Lincoln. Surveys show 263 Salt Creek tiger beetles existed in 2008, down from 777 in 2000. Biologists cite the loss of critical habitat as the main reason for the decline.

Come Hither, Bumblebee, and Pollinate

Published on April 29, 2009

By Anne Raver, The New York Times

MY native black cherry tree is covered with little white flowers, and if the bees and other pollinators do their job, I’ll have plenty of sweet black cherries by midsummer. My Korean spicebushes (Viburnum carlesii) are also in full bloom, their clusters of pinkish-white flowers filling the air with the heady scent of cinnamon and honey. But it’s striking how few bees are sipping nectar from these Asian shrubs compared with my native redbud and sassafras trees, which are literally vibrating with pollinators.

It bears out the research that Gordon Frankie, an entomologist at the University of California, Berkeley, has begun in gardens around that city, where he and his students have surveyed 1,000 different plants, both native and nonnative.

“Only 50 were native plants, but of that 50, 80 percent were attractive to pollinators,” Professor Frankie said. “In contrast, only 10 percent of the 950 nonnatives were attractive to pollinators.”

Seven Hawaiian Bees Risk Extinction

Published on March 31, 2009

By John Platt in 60-Second Extinction Countdown, Scientific American

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation last week petitioned the U.S. Department of the Interior to protect seven Hawaiian bee species under the Endangered Species Act. All seven species of these “yellow-faced bees” — Hylaeus anthracinus, H. longiceps, H. assimulans, H. facilis, H. hilaris, H. kuakea and H. mana — have seen tremendous declines since they were first observed just over a century ago. None exist outside the Hawaiian Islands.

Better Bees: Super Bee and Wild Bee

Published on January 27, 2009


California farmers depend on bees to pollinate the state’s multi-million dollar fruit and nut crops, but last season thousands of bee colonies disappeared around the country. Meet two Northern California researchers looking for ways to make sure we always have bees to pollinate our crops.

Butterfly Counters Miffed at S.F. Museum

Published on October 4, 2008

By Matthew B. Stannard, The San Francisco Chronicle

Liam O’Brien was sitting down for dinner Sept. 27 when he flipped on the television news to see a flock of monarch butterflies delighting the opening day crowds at the California Academy of Sciences – and just about choked on his meal. Where the happy crowds saw a colorful display of natural wonder, O’Brien saw a flock of alien invaders – just a few flaps away from the grove of eucalyptus trees where he volunteers each year to count the local population of monarchs as part of a statewide monitoring program. “To release … butterflies so close to a roost completely compromises the season,” O’Brien said. “I cannot walk into the Botanical Garden and say those are not from the back of some woman’s car.”

Signs of Decline: First Honeybees, now Bumblebees

Published on August 7, 2008

By Adrian Higgins, The Washington Post

The honeybees seem to be bucking the trend and thriving for the moment, at least in my garden. So I have stopped watching them at work and turned my attention to the native bees.

The Wandering Lepidopterist

Published on August 4, 2008

By Eric Wagner, High Country News

It’s a sadly typical spring day in Seattle, all scudding clouds and spitting rain even though the forecast promised sun. On top of that, Dr. Robert Michael Pyle has some bad news. “Marsha won’t be joining us,” he says. I’m sorry to hear it. Marsha has been at Pyle’s side for more than 30 years, and sometimes he refers to her as his second wife. I’d looked forward to meeting her, but it appears that I’ll have to wait. Why? “She’s a little torn up,” Pyle says.

Native Pollinators: How to Protect and Enhance Habitat for Native Bees

Published on July 21, 2008

Mace Vaughan and Scott Hoffman Black, Native Plants Journal

The success of all restoration efforts—and indeed, of life as we know it— depends on a healthy and diverse population of native pollinators. Pollinators are critical for seed production and the perpetuation of native plants (and our food crops). Bees are our most important pollinators in North America. Nursery managers, seed producers, and field restorationists can protect and enhance habitat for native bees.

Why Nature Needs Its Native Bees

Published on June 27, 2008

By Divya Abhat

Wildlife professionals know well that when habitat degrades, wildlife suffers. New research on the critical role of healthy habitat is suggesting that wildlife managers spend time examining some of the smallest members of the wildlife brood.

We need to be busy like bees to help save them

Published on June 5, 2008

By Senator Barbara Boxer, published in The Modesto Bee

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, however, between 15 percent and 30 percent of the food we eat in the United States depends on honeybees for pollination. Without bees, avocados, strawberries and almonds are just a few of the California crops that would suffer. Not only would yields be reduced, but so would the jobs that go with them.

Restoring Rare Beauties

Published on June 1, 2008

By Heather Millar, National Wildlife Magazine

From coast to coast, dozens of U.S. butterflies are in trouble, inspiring a host of efforts to protect the beloved insects.

Do Endangered Species Have a Chance?

Published on

The House Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing this Wednesday on the politicization of the Endangered Species Act entitled The Danger of Deception: Do Endangered Species Have a Chance? The hearing features the testimony of activists and scientists who continue to experience obstacles to obtaining science-based protections for endangered species.

Welcome mat for bees

Published on May 9, 2008

The problems plaguing commercial honeybees have attracted a lot of attention since late 2006, when roughly one-fourth of U.S. beekeepers lost about 45 percent of their hives, he said.

Colony Collapse Disorder: Many Suspects, No Smoking Gun

Published on May 1, 2008

The cause of colony collapse disorder remains unknown, although some possible explanations for the loss of honey bee colonies can be ruled out.

Humming Praises for the Wild Bee

Published on April 24, 2008

The bumblebee and other native wild bees are all the more important in the garden now that the population of honeybees is in such decline — down to 2.4 million colonies last year from 5.5 million in 1945, according to the Department of Agriculture, due mainly, scientists say, to mites infesting the hives and, lately, to a mysterious epidemic called colony collapse disorder.

Settlement reached in rare butterfly case

Published on April 15, 2008

A settlement reached by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and environmentalists requires the agency to take the first step in determining whether a rare butterfly found only in southern New Mexico deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Survey: Beekeepers Lost 35% of Bees This Winter

Published on April 14, 2008

There was a Senate Briefing last week, called by Senators Boxer (D-CA), Casey (D-PA) and Collins (R-ME) on the decline of honey bees and native pollinators and the threat posed to agriculture.

Stinging Descent: Knoxville article on disappearing bumble bees

Published on April 10, 2008

By Morgan Simmons Thursday, April 10, 2008 The collapse of honeybee colonies across the U.S. appears to have a parallel among bumblebees. In the late 1990s, researchers began noticing a dramatic decline in three of North America’s most common bumblebee species – the western bumblebee (Bombus occidentalis), yellow-banded bumblebee (Bombus terricola) and the rusty-patched bumblebee (Bombus affinis). Of these Read more …

Beekeepers stung by disappearing bees

Published on

MiamiHerald.com Posted on Thu, Apr. 10, 2008 BY PHIL LONG AND LESLEY CLARK With a third of the nation’s honeybees disappearing because of a mysterious malady, Florida’s beekeepers are working to restore their hives and nurse their bee colonies back to health. Not only do the bees create Florida’s $11.3 million annual honey crop, they’re Read more …

Volunteers to count bees on sunflowers in study

Published on April 2, 2008

SF Gate Ron Sullivan, Joe Eaton Wednesday, April 2, 2008 Here’s another opportunity to do your bit for science without leaving your yard. San Francisco State University biologist Gretchen LeBuhn wants you to grow a sunflower – not just any old sunflower, but the North American native species Helianthus annuus – and monitor the bee Read more …

The Buzz on Bees

Published on April 1, 2008

The Wildlife Society – Spring 2008 Why Nature Needs its Native Bees By Divya Abhat – Science Writer for The Wildlife Society Wildlife professionals know well that when habitat degrades, wildlife suffers. New research on the critical role of healthy habitat is suggesting that wildlife managers spend time examining some of the smallest members of Read more …

Column: Wild Neighbors: Antioch Dunes — Rare Insects of an Inland Island

Published on

The Berkeley Daily Planet By Joe Eaton Tuesday April 01, 2008 Antioch Dunes evening primrose with unknown insect. Mark your calendars: the annual spring surveys of endangered wildflowers at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge are coming up. This year’s dates are April 9-10 for the Contra Costa wallflower and May 14-15 for the Antioch Read more …

It’s time to get ready for birds, bees

Published on February 23, 2008

Press Democrat pressdemo.com Article published – Feb 23, 2008 Spring is still a month away, but it isn’t too early to turn our attention to birds and bees. They never abandon the garden completely, but their numbers swell as the weather warms, more so if we entice them with the right food and housing. To Read more …

Scientists say its time to act now to ward off a pollination crisis

Published on January 27, 2008

January 27, 2008 Madolyn Rogers Sentinel Correspondent At the 28th annual Ecological Farming Conference in Monterey Thursday, scientists discussed the possible causes of the steep loss of honeybee colonies nationwide in 2007, and said now is the time to take action to ward off a pollination crisis. Entomologist Eric Mussen of UC Davis said the Read more …

Range summit seeks common ground on conservation

Published on January 23, 2008

California Rangeland Conservation Coalition event draws 200 participants Bob Krauter – Capital Press Wednesday, January 23, 2008 Steve Thompson, left, a regional director with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, talks to Kern County rancher Bruce Hafenfeld at the 2008 summit of the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition in Sacramento. Hafenfeld, president of the California Cattlemen’s Read more …

Organic farm a bee heaven

Published on January 3, 2008

BY CLIFF NEWELL The West Linn Tidings, Jan 3, 2008 The beekeeper just couldn’t understand it. His bees were returning to their hives laden with pollen and nectar. This was highly unusual because as winter approaches, the amount of food for bees normally dwindles as they get ready for their long winter hibernation. Yet amazingly, Read more …

Plight of the butterflies

Published on

Reign of the monarchs is in decline, but no one knows reason for the drop in population By Zeke Barlow Thursday, January 3, 2008 The Ellwood Main Monarch Butterfly Grove in Goleta is one of the largest monarch sites in the U.S. The eucalyptus trees provide shelter for the butterflies so they can survive the Read more …

New Bees on the Block

Published on January 1, 2008

Boosting native bee populations could give beleaguered honeybees a break. By Alisa Opar In many ways, the Rominger brothers are a lot like their neighbors in California’s Central Valley. For starters, they’re farmers—they grow rice, alfalfa, wheat, and sunflowers on a 3,000-acre plot at Butler Farm. But Bruce Rominger knows that his family has a Read more …

USFS Pollinator of the Month: Flies and Flowers Article

Published on

Flies and Flowers: An Enduring Partnership by Carol Ann Kearns The association between flies and flowers has a long history. Flies and beetles have been implicated as the primary pollinators of the earliest flowering plants. Many of these plants were also visited by bees and thrips as secondary pollinators, but pollination by birds, butterflies, moths, Read more …

Migration or expansion, monarch butterflies make us aflutter

Published on December 12, 2007

Ron Sullivan and Joe Eaton Wednesday, December 12, 2007 http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/12/12/HOFATOIBO.DTL They’re back! The monarch butterflies have returned to their favored Bay Area winter roosting spots, festooning the trees with orange and black. Ardenwood Historic Farm near Fremont had about 600 last week, according to supervising naturalist Ira Bletz. “That’s a typical number for this time Read more …

Buy This 40-Page Booklet for Your Cucurbit and Berry Pollinators

Published on December 1, 2007

The Vegetable & Small Fruit Gazette December 2007 Volume 11, No. 12 Shelby Fleischer, Entomology, Penn State University Never heard of the Xerces Society? Well, it’s not a widely publicized group, but it is an excellent, small society devoted to conservation of one segment of biological diversity: insects! And they just updated an excellent, inexpensive Read more …

Bee tragedy averted in Santa Cruz County?

Published on October 11, 2007

Posted: Thursday, Oct 11th, 2007 BY: ROGER SIDEMAN When last we heard from honeybees, the buzz was bad. A new ailment had emerged last winter, causing bee colonies around the country to mysteriously flee, and fueling fears that the vanishing honeybee would threaten crops that depend on bees for pollination. But Santa Cruz County’s honeybees Read more …

Plight Of The Bumblebee

Published on October 8, 2007

CBS News GRANTS PASS, Ore., Oct. 8, 2007 (AP) Looking high and low, Robbin Thorp can no longer find a species of bumblebee that just five years ago was plentiful in northwestern California and southwestern Oregon. Thorp, an emeritus professor of entomology from the University of California at Davis, found one solitary worker last year along Read more …

For the betterment of bees

Published on September 1, 2007

By Katy Neusteter September 2007 With two bee-centric bills moving through Congress this fall, it seems that lawmakers are as worried about the decline of the country’s honeybees as beekeepers are themselves. Introduced in June, the Pollinator Research Act would fund research on crop pollination and bee biology, while the Pollinator Protection Act—part of the Read more …


Published on August 10, 2007

Serving communities of the Western San Juans FRIDAY AUGUST 10, 2007 NICE LEGS – A native bee, which is a species of bumble bee, gathered pollen from a flower in Telluride. The orange sacks on its legs are where the pollen is carried by the bee. (Photo below by Amy Levek) The Xerces Society By Read more …

Butterflies aren’t free

Published on July 15, 2007

The Seattle Times Saving the planet, one bug at a time Cover Story by Paula Bock, July 15, 2007 The Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly is no bigger than a man’s thumb, sports splashy orange and black wings, cavorts in sunny meadows ringed by oak and pine, tastes with its feet, nectars on wild strawberries, has a Read more …

Where have all the honeybees gone?

Published on July 10, 2007

Colonies of vital crop pollinators disappearing By Alex Breitler Record Staff Writer July 10, 2007 6:00 AM You can thank the humble honeybee for every third mouthful of your next meal. But experts say bees didn’t generate much buzz from the public until entire hives began dying off earlier this year. New bills in Congress Read more …

Befriend bees

Published on July 1, 2007

by Sharon Cohoon July 2007 Bees, so important to our gardens, are in trouble. Here’s how to help them in your own backyard. Before a flower can set seed or form fruit, it needs to be pollinated. Though some plants are pollinated by bats, birds, butterflies, moths, and wasps, most of the work is done Read more …

D’s support bees

Published on June 29, 2007

Portland Business Journal – June 29, 2007 Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, and Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Florida have introduced a bill to make pollinator conservation an overarching priority in conservation programs administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Pollinator Habitat Protection Act of 2007 comes in the wake of a spate of mysterious European honeybee Read more …

Farmers feel sting of honeybee epidemic

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Sustainable Industries by Amy Westervelt – 6.29.07 PORTLAND – Cheap honey imports have whittled away at the U.S. honey market for years, according to Mace Vaughan, conservation director for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. And because there’s little profit in honey, most beekeepers make their money by providing pollination services for farmers, he says. Read more …

Build It and They Will Come

Published on May 16, 2007

Audubon Magazine May 16, 2007 Here are some resources to help you create a bee garden of your own. By Susan Tweit Gordon Frankie’s Urban Bee Garden Descriptions of bee-friendly plants with photos (best for California but helpful elsewhere), how to provide nesting habitat, why bees are important, and how to observe bees and bee Read more …

Tennessee honey bees struggling

Published on May 9, 2007

Tennessean By ANNE PAINE Staff Writer May 9, 2007 ARRINGTON — Brown shreds hung like burst balloons from a tulip poplar tree beside Jim Garrison’s bee hives. What would have been blooms with nectar and pollen for the honey bees coming and going from the wooden boxes had withered in a killing frost. The unpredictable Read more …

Protect native pollinators

Published on May 7, 2007

The ChronicleHerald.ca HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA | Monday May 7, 2007 Butterflies, moths, beetles important for the health of province’s gardens By JODI DELONG The real dirt PEOPLE ARE talking about a topic that’s been in the news of late, having to do with honeybees that are going missing from their hives. Like most, I know Read more …

Flight Of The Honeybee

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CBS News WOODLAND, Calif., May 7, 2007 (CBS) From their buzz to their stingers, bees often inspire fear. CBS News correspondent John Blackstone put on a beekeeper’s hood in order to get close to the bees Louise Rossberg keeps. What we should be afraid of, Rossberg said, is that bees are disappearing. “I worry every Read more …

Flight of the honeybees

Published on May 3, 2007

THE CALIFORNIA GARDEN Bees have been mysteriously disappearing en masse. Good riddance, you say? Not so. You just might miss nature’s little pollinators and the magic they work on the flowers and fruit in your backyard. By Joe Robinson Special to The Times May 3, 2007 SOMETHING strange is happening to honeybees. They’re vanishing. In Read more …

What’s happening to the bees?

Published on April 4, 2007

Suddenly, the bees farmers and growers rely on are vanishing. Researchers are scrambling to find out why. By Moises Velasquez-Manoff | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor April 4, 2007 Beekeeper James Doan first began finding empty hives last fall. Entire bee colonies seemed to have up and vanished, leaving their honey behind. Noting the Read more …

Gardeners save the day as butterfly habitats disappear

Published on February 17, 2007

Monarchs rapidly losing breeding ground, but a small plot of milkweed in yard or on the roof can help save them The San Francisco Chronical Deborah K. Rich, Special to The Chronicle Saturday, February 17, 2007 For $16 worth of seeds, plus space and time, gardeners across the country can counter the precipitous loss of Read more …

How to Get Wall Street to Hug a Tree

Published on February 11, 2007

Environmentalists and investment bankers are working together to put a price tag on nature. The new ‘greens’ think that human beings are ready to start paying for Mother Nature’s services—and that calculating their financial worth will save the planet. By David Wolman David Wolman is the author of “A Left-Hand Turn Around the World” and Read more …

Feds deny protection for San Juan Island butterfly

Published on November 14, 2006

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER Tuesday, November 14, 2006 · Last updated 3:02 p.m. PT THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SEATTLE — The Island Marble butterfly, a recently rediscovered species thought to have been extinct for more than 90 years, will not be added to the federal list of threatened and endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Read more …

Groups sue to protect butterfly

Published on November 1, 2006

Local government briefs SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES November 2006 SEATTLE — Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking protection for the island marble butterfly, found on San Juan Island. Members of The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the San Juans say Read more …

Protecting the Spineless from Extinction

Published on October 26, 2006

October 26, 2006 from Morning Edition STEVE INSKEEP, host: Honeybees used to be about the only bug anybody thought worth saving. Now one group is trying to protect even the insects you want to squash. NPR’s John Nielsen has more. JOHN NIELSEN: Scott Hoffman Black tends to stare at things that other people stay away Read more …

Pollinators’ Decline Called Threat to Crops

Published on October 19, 2006

By Juliet Eilperin Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, October 19, 2006 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/18/AR2006101801712.html Birds, bees, bats and other species that pollinate North American plant life are losing population, according to a study released yesterday by the National Research Council. This “demonstrably downward” trend could damage dozens of commercially important crops, scientists warned, since three-quarters of all Read more …

Bees, other pollinators may be declining in U.S.

Published on October 1, 2006

WASHINGTON, Oct 18, 2006 (Reuters) – Bees and other important pollinators such as birds and bats may be on the decline in the United States, putting crops and other plants at risk, experts reported on Wednesday. But there is not enough information to determine how bad the problem is, the National Research Council said in Read more …

Congress weighs $86 million to study bee-colony problem

Published on July 29, 2006

By Alex Breitler McClatchy Tribune Services San Jose Mercury News July 2006 Experts say bees didn’t generate much buzz from the public until entire hives began dying off earlier this year. New bills in Congress would dedicate more than $86 million to study bees and the causes of colony collapse disorder, a little-understood phenomenon in Read more …

What’s the point of insects?

Published on April 1, 2006

They’re worth a cool $57 billion to the United States each year, that’s what. Michael Hopkin April 1, 2006 Next time you dismiss insects as mere creepy-crawlies, ponder for a while on what life would be like without them. Our six-legged friends might be more valuable than you think — research estimates that they’re worth Read more …

Bugs plug $57 billion into U.S. economy

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And that’s a conservative estimate, entomologists say Associated Press (as seen on MSNBC) April 1, 2006 ITHACA, N.Y. – Think twice before you swat a fly or squash a bug: A new study says insects contribute more than $57 billion a year to the U.S. economy. And that is a very conservative estimate, said John Read more …

Rare Washington Butterfly May Be Protected

Published on February 13, 2006

February 13, 2006 Associated Press in: Tacoma WA News Tribune; KOMO Channel 4 News for Seattle, Tacoma and the Pacific Northwest; KGW Channel 8 News Portland By  KOMO Staff & News Services SEATTLE – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that a rare species of butterfly may warrant Endangered Species Act protection. The Read more …

City Gardens May Drive Bee diversity, Study says

Published on November 15, 2005

Cameron Walker for National Geographic News November 15, 2005 Urban gardeners planting choices may play an important role in bee diversity, according to a new study. University of California, Berkeley, entomologist Gordon Frankie started investigating urban bees nine years ago, when a colleague stopped by his campus office with a box of six bee species Read more …

Logging not much help against forest insect outbreaks

Published on November 11, 2005

By JEFF BARNARD Associated Press Writer November 11, 2005 GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Logging is not very effective at controlling insect outbreaks, and can leave a forest less able to withstand another infestation of tree- killing bugs, according to a new study by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. “There is no evidence that Read more …

Salt Creek tiger beetle goes on endangered list

Published on October 10, 2005

Sioux City Journal October 10, 2005 OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The rarest insect in Nebraska is now on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species list. The Salt Creek tiger beetle, found in the salt wetlands of eastern Nebraska, has been in decline since 1991, the service said Thursday in a news release from Read more …

Battling beetles badly

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Missoula Independent by Jessie McQuillan October 10, 2005 Logging can’t control bark beetle outbreaks in forests, especially once an epidemic is underway, according to a report released Oct. 5 and hailed by former Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck as “the most useful publication on the topic of forests and forest pests that I have seen.” Read more …

Report: Logging Not Effective Against Bark Beetles

Published on October 6, 2005

MONTE VISTA, Colorado, October 6, 2005 (ENS) – A conservation group Wednesday published research showing that there is no evidence that logging can control bark beetles or forest defoliators once an outbreak has started. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation released an 88-page research compilation that the group says casts doubt on a logging project Read more …

Beetle-ravaged pine trees create piles of problems

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By Steve Lipsher Denver Post Staff Writer Article Launched: 10/06/2005 01:00:00 AM Winter Park – Trying to combat the mountain-pine beetle that has ravaged forests throughout the mountains, Priscilla Ledbury cut down 130 dying lodgepole pines surrounding her Silverthorne home. Her heartache over that decision has since turned to exasperation. “Now the problem is to Read more …

TV host on a mission save bugs from sprays and shoe heels

Published on July 23, 2005

RUSS BYNUM Associated Press Posted on Sat, Jul. 23, 2005 The article ran in several papers in the southeast including the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer and the Macon Telegraph. FOLKSTON, Ga. – Beside a murky pond in the Okefenokee Swamp, Ruud Kleinpaste points proudly as six swallowtail butterflies land on a patch of darkened dirt where he’s Read more …

Bugs chewing up trees across the West, raising fire danger

Published on July 20, 2005

The Salt Lake Tribune By KIM NGUYEN | Associated Press July 20, 2005 VAIL, Colo. – The mountain views along Red Stone Road suggest early autumn, with splashes of red, orange and a rusty brown dotting the green hillsides above the homes and condominiums of this Colorado resort town. But this is July and those Read more …