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A small lady beetle climbs amidst flower stems, with a blurred yellow blossom in the background.
(Photo: Xerces Society / Jennifer Hopwood)

The vast majority of invertebrates serve vitally important roles in a healthy environment, including controlling pests, pollinating flowering plants, and providing food for other wildlife. Only a very small number of invertebrates are pests. Yet, the pesticides designed to control unwanted plants and animals rarely distinguish between beneficial invertebrates and those which cause harm. All too often pesticides cause unintended consequences and disrupt the natural systems that sustain us. But, because pesticides are valued for their toxicity to pests, the risks they pose are often accepted⁠—even when healthier, more sustainable options are available.

As part of the Xerces Society’s conservation efforts we strive to reduce reliance on pesticides by supporting the diverse systems that reduce pest problems. Xerces’ staff is sought after to translate complex science so that farmers, backyard gardeners, agency staff, and policy makers can make informed decisions about pesticide use and regulation. And by providing on-the-ground technical support we are increasing the adoption of ecologically sound pest management practices everywhere.
 

Reducing Pesticide Impacts in Your Landscape

Balance pest management with protecting pollinators, beneficial insects, and other important invertebrates and their habitat.

 

More to Explore

Conservation Biological Control

Integrate beneficial insects back into crop systems for natural pest control.

The Risks of Pesticides to Pollinators

Learn more about specific impacts on pollinators, and how to avoid them.

Xerces Model Policy to Protect Pollinators from Pesticides

You can make your community more pollinator-friendly!

Understanding Neonicotinoids

Take a deeper look at the negative impacts of these widely-used insecticides.

Protecting Pollinators In Your Garden

Learn more about how home gardeners can reduce or eliminate pesticide use to avoid impacts on pollinators.

Effective Mosquito Management

Careful planning and common-sense actions are the most effective and safest mosquito management techniques.

Pesticide Impacts & Alternatives on the Blog

The latest news about the Xerces Society's interdisciplinary pesticide work—including updates from the field, policy and advocacy work, new publications, conservation biological control, and more!

Organic site preparation is simply using methods and materials outside of the conventional options of chemical herbicides to prepare seedbeds prior to planting. Methods of organic site prep can be solarization, smother cropping, repeated cultivation, sheet mulching, and more. There are many ways to achieve good results without breaking the bank.

Spring is quickly turning into summer, and with the warming temperatures comes the drone of mosquitoes in our parks and yards. Unfortunately, the insecticide sprays used by pest control companies can be harmful to a wide variety of other insects. Fortunately, there’s a much more effective way to reduce your itchy bites this summer and protect pollinators in your yard:  focus on eliminating areas where mosquitoes breed.

In our work, we regularly put an emphasis on the importance of using native plants when creating habitat, whether it’s a new prairie, a farm hedgerow, a meadow in a park, or a flower border in your own backyard. Pollinators are often the principal interest for these types of projects, but the benefits of using native plants go far beyond, including, potentially, into a more climate-resilient future for people and wildlife.