pollinators


Plants for Pollinators: Culver’s Root

Published on May 24, 2017

This post is part of an ongoing series highlighting some of the best plants for pollinators from coast-to-coast. Drawing from our books 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Gardening for Butterflies , and our Monarch Nectar Plant Guides. Culver’s Root Veranicastrum virginicum spp. Culver’s Root has largely been ignored by beekeepers and gardeners, but has Read more …


Plants you can eat are a pollinator treat

Published on May 17, 2017

If you enjoy growing cucumbers, squash, melons, and other insect pollinated crops, you already know the necessity of having some pollinator pals around. Setting aside part of your vegetable garden specifically for pollinators provides direct benefits in the form of larger, more abundant, and better formed fruits and vegetables. But even fruits and vegetables that Read more …


Plants for Pollinators: Pearly Everlasting

Published on May 5, 2017

It’s National Wildflower Week! The first week in May is a time to celebrate our native wildflowers and the pollinators they support. This post is part of an ongoing series highlighting some of the best plants for pollinators from coast-to-coast. Drawing from our books 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Gardening for Butterflies , and Read more …


Obligate Mutualism Blooms in the Desert

Published on April 18, 2017

Tikaboo Valley, Nevada. Home of the Extraterrestrial Highway, the infamous black mailbox, UFO seekers, cattle ranchers, and desert wanderers. Nestled between three mountain ranges and notorious Area 51, Tikaboo is also home to those bizarre Mojave residents known as Joshua trees. These spiky, Dr. Seuss-like plants provide critical food, moisture, and refuge to an incredible Read more …


Staff Story: The Tickle Bees of Sabin Elementary

Published on April 10, 2017

In the summer of 2009, my family and I moved into a house across from the Sabin Elementary School in Northeast Portland, Oregon. Our daughter started kindergarten at the school that fall. As other school parents learned of my work in pollinator conservation, they would occasionally ask me if I’d ever seen the “tickle bees.” Read more …


Plants for Pollinators: Violets

Published on April 7, 2017

This post is part of a series highlighting some of the best plants for pollinators from coast-to-coast. Drawing from our books 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Gardening for Butterflies , and our Monarch Nectar Plant Guides. Common Blue Violet Viola sororia Violets are often bemoaned as “weeds” when found in lawns, and otherwise impugned for Read more …


Don’t spring into garden cleanup too soon!

Published on April 4, 2017

Spring is here. A time when warmer weather naturally turns a winter-weary homeowner’s thoughts towards tackling outdoor chores. The first warm weather of the season may coax us out into the yard, but pollinators in your garden aren’t ready to take a chance on the first warm day. Chrysalides still cling to last season’s dried Read more …


Write Your Rep! Less Mowing, More Monarchs

Published on March 31, 2017

We’ve made the case that roadsides can be managed for pollinators, while maintaining erosion control, keeping roads safe, improving water quality, and saving money! Now it’s time to make the case to lawmakers, so that they can change the way their state manages roadsides for multiple benefits, including helping bees, butterflies, and other insects. We’ve Read more …


Pollinator Conservation at 60 MPH

Published on March 12, 2017

This entry originally appeared in the January 2017 Committee on Transportation and Ecology Newsletter. Speeding down the freeway with the landscape flashing by, thoughts of pollinators may be limited to a brief glimpse of honey bee hives in an orchard, a bright patch of flowers beside the road, or an unfortunate butterfly tossed in the Read more …


Producing Wildflower Seed in the Age of Superweeds

Published on January 24, 2017

“It’s disappointing to see this problem associated with conservation seed mixes.” That’s the response from a friend and native seed producer when I mentioned the news that Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri), a highly invasive noxious weed has now appeared in several states across the Midwest. The weed was possibly introduced outside of its native range Read more …


The 2017 Perennial Plant of the Year, and Other Milkweeds You Should Know

Published on January 23, 2017

Each year since 1990, the Perennial Plant Association has designated a “Perennial Plant of the Year.” The designation has become well known amongst growers, landscapers, gardeners, and others who eagerly await the announcement each year. Selection often launches the chosen plant into the mainstream, making it more widely available. While the association has often favored Read more …


New Report: How Neonicotinoids Can Kill Bees

Published on December 14, 2016

The plight of pollinators has grabbed the public’s attention, helped by media stories of parasites, pesticide poisonings, and deserts of urban and agricultural lands where little to no forage can be found. Most experts agree that the startling declines of native bee and butterfly populations, as well as the high annual losses of managed honey Read more …


$4 Million to Help Pollinator Habitat!

Published on December 1, 2016

On Wednesday, November 30, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and General Mills announced that they were together making a five-year, $4 million financial commitment to support the creation and protection of pollinator habitat on America’s farmlands. Thanks to this funding, the Xerces Society will add six pollinator conservation specialists, who will work jointly with the Read more …


Put Down Those Pruners: Pollinators Need Your ‘Garden Garbage!’

Published on October 21, 2016

It should be welcome news for weary gardeners. You’ve weeded, tilled, and toiled under the hot sun all summer long, and now — it’s time to stop. For many, however, the temptation to pick, pluck, and prune the landscape to make it neat and tidy for the winter is too hard to ignore. This impulse Read more …


Celebrate Apples by Celebrating Their Pollinators!

Published on October 7, 2016

Cut an apple in half through the middle. What do you see? Do you notice a star-shaped cluster of seeds? Those seeds are the result of the hard work done by a tiny pollinator many months ago. If there are two seeds in each of the five points, the apple was completely pollinated, meaning enough Read more …


Pollinator Conservation in Agriculture

Published on September 9, 2016

Recently, conservationists have been discussing the role of agriculture in helping pollinators—and for good reason. About half of the U.S. land base is in agriculture. If we want to truly provide for a long-term future for pollinators, we must work with farmers. Farms come in all shapes and sizes, from small, family-run operations to vast Read more …


Scanning the Horizon for Pollinator Threats and Opportunities

Published on August 9, 2016

The global fate of pollinators rests firmly in the hands of Big Ag according to research published in the journal PeerJ, which identified the most serious future threats and opportunities facing pollinating species. A horizon scan of future threats and opportunities for pollinators and pollination was authored by an international team of scientists and conservationists Read more …


Moths are cool too!

Published on July 25, 2016

Given their muted colors, erroneous reputation as pests, and the nocturnal nature of many species, most people fail to take notice of moths — let alone celebrate them. Enter National Moth Week. NMW was started by moth-minded scientists and environmentalists in 2011 as a citizen science project celebrating moths and biodiversity. “Moth-ers” of all ages Read more …


Senator Merkley Unveils New Proposal to Help Restore Pollinator Populations Across the U.S.

Published on June 23, 2016

Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley has unveiled a new proposal to help restore pollinator populations across America. Released during National Pollinator Week, The Pollinator Recovery Act of 2016 discussion draft will provide the public and stakeholders with the opportunity to engage in the legislative process and comment on key policy provisions in the bill. Xerces Society Read more …


Bumble Bees and Baptisia: A Pollination Story

Published on June 21, 2016

Plants use many “tricks” to entice insects into the work of pollination. The shape, color, and bloom period of a plant’s flowers can greatly influence who their potential pollinator mate may be. Such is the case when considering the relationship between bumble bees and flowers in the genus Baptisia. There are two plants of the Read more …


Farm by Farm: 150 Pollinator Habitat Projects

Published on June 20, 2016

Ensuring that pollinators and other beneficial insects have safe, high-quality habitat has been the cornerstone of the Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Program over the last two decades. Xerces has built a team of experts that work tirelessly toward this goal across a range of landscapes, including gardens, roadsides, parks, golf courses, and natural areas, but Read more …


Partnering for Pollinators

Published on

The Xerces Society works with many partners in pollinator conservation. These partners include local, state, and federal agencies; farmers; land managers; seed companies; other conservation groups; and volunteers. We’re thankful for the support of these partnerships which make large-scale pollinator conservation efforts possible. Below is a sampling of partnership projects from the past year. Port Read more …


The Value of Protecting Pollinators

Published on June 9, 2016

If you’re reading this, chances are you have at least a passing interest in protecting pollinators.  Maybe you are motivated by Colony Collapse Disorder and its impact on honey bee populations. Maybe you’re a farmer who’s primary interest is in crop yields. Perhaps you’re a naturalist who is interested in the ecological benefits of pollinators. Read more …


Celebrate Pollinators!

Published on June 6, 2016

Pollinators bring us the wildflowers of spring, the berries of summer, the pumpkins we carve into jack-o’-lanterns in fall. Our dinner tables would be less enticing without them: approximately three-quarters of crop plant species need a bee or other pollinator, which translates to roughly one-third of the food and drink that we consume. More than Read more …


Xerces in Your Grocery Store: Working to Make the Food You Eat Better for Bees

Published on May 25, 2016

Over the past decade the Xerces Society has helped farmers contribute to the creation of over 250,000 acres of pollinator habitat nationwide (and to reduce pesticide use on those lands), but it has been challenging to track food produced on that cropland all the way to the plate. To better connect consumers with products that Read more …


Helping Pollinators on the Road to Survival

Published on March 30, 2016

On Monday, March 28, the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a memo regarding the pollinator provisions in section 1415 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, and announcing the release of “Pollinators and Roadsides: Best Management Practices for Managers and Decision Makers.” The report can be read on the FHWA web site, Read more …


Research Update: Are bee diseases linked to pesticides?

Published on February 16, 2016

The issue of pesticide impacts on bees is of key interest to many people. In time, we’ll also be gathering this information onto a page on our web site. The recently published article, Are bee diseases linked to pesticides?—A brief review (Sanchez-Bayo et al. 2016), infused valuable insights into the discussion about pollinator decline. The Read more …


EPA’s Preliminary Risk Assessment for the Neonicotinoid Insecticide, Imidacloprid

Published on January 7, 2016

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a preliminary pollinator risk assessment for the neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid, which shows a threat to some pollinators. The EPA’s assessment indicates that the highly toxic, long-lived neonicotinoid imidacloprid “potentially poses risk to hives when the pesticide comes in contact with certain crops that attract pollinators…” While we Read more …


Xerces Goes Island Hopping for Bees

Published on September 24, 2015

How do you restore a 50-acre native wildflower meadow for bees on an island in the middle of the Columbia River? It’s simple. Working with the Port of Portland, and seed company Pacific Northwest Natives, we loaded up a barge with a tractor, a truck, a drill seeder, hundreds of pounds of seed, and half Read more …


How Farmers Are Doing Their Part to Bring Back the Pollinators: A California Case Study

Published on June 27, 2015

It all started with a question: What can large-scale food production and labeling operations do to help pollinators? The Importance of Habitat There are a lot of ways for all of us to help bees, but farmers are in a unique position to make a huge impact. There are over 100 pollinator-dependent crops grown in Read more …


Staff Pollinator Picks #11 and 12

Published on June 25, 2015

Everybody probably has a favorite insect. We thought it would be fun to ask our pollinator staff to suggest their favorite pollinator. With so many pollinators to choose from, it gives a glimpse into the diversity that’s out there waiting to be watched and enjoyed. Here are staff pollinator favorites #11 and 12! Painted lady Read more …


Staff Pollinator Picks #9 and 10

Published on June 22, 2015

Everybody probably has a favorite insect. We thought it would be fun to ask our pollinator staff to suggest their favorite pollinator. With so many pollinators to choose from, it gives a glimpse into the diversity that’s out there waiting to be watched and enjoyed. Here are the ninth and tenth picks in our series Read more …


Staff Pollinator Picks #7 and 8

Published on June 17, 2015

Everybody probably has a favorite insect. We thought it would be fun to ask our pollinator staff to suggest their favorite pollinator. With so many pollinators to choose from, it gives a glimpse into the diversity that’s out there waiting to be watched and enjoyed. Here are two more of their picks. Syrphid fly (Toxomerus Read more …


Staff Pollinator Picks #4, 5, and 6!

Published on June 11, 2015

Everybody probably has a favorite insect. We thought it would be fun to ask our pollinator staff to suggest their favorite pollinator. With so many pollinators to choose from, it gives a glimpse into the diversity that’s out there waiting to be watched and enjoyed. Here are another three of their picks! Large carpenter bee Read more …


Are you up for the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge?

Published on June 10, 2015

The National Pollinator Garden Network is a newly created partnership of organizations involved with pollinator conservation, wildlife gardening, and gardens. The network was initiated as part of the White House’s National Pollinator Strategy and is coordinated by the National Wildlife Federation. It draws together nearly two dozen nonprofits and organizations with a shared aim, to Read more …


Staff Pollinator Pick #3: Blue-winged wasp (Scolia dubia)

Published on June 7, 2015

The more I learn about their behaviors, the more I love insect pollinators! My new favorite is the blue-winged wasp, Scolia dubia. These wasps are solitary. After emerging from the ground (where they grew up and overwintered), they do a courtship dance before mating. Then, each mated female will hover over lawns or gardens searching Read more …


Staff Pollinator Pick #2: Sunflower Bee (Svastra obliqua)

Published on June 5, 2015

Named for its penchant for frequenting sunflowers, female bees of this species appear to prefer to collect pollen from sunflowers and other fall-blooming plants in the family Asteraceae. Although the common name, sunflower bee, can be applied to a number of fall-flying bees, I find this robust, large species particularly striking. I’m also fascinated by Read more …


Pollinator Conservation Crosses a National Threshold

Published on June 4, 2015

The newly released National Strategy to Protect Pollinators and Their Habitat represents a threshold moment in pollinator conservation. Two decades ago, the issue was barely discussed. When Xerces staff attended a national meeting of the pioneering organizations in 1996, it could be held around a single conference table. Ten years ago, interest had grown and Read more …


Staff Pollinator Pick #1: Euglossa dilemma

Published on June 3, 2015

Everybody probably has a favorite insect. We thought it would be fun to ask our pollinator staff to suggest their favorite pollinator. With so many pollinators to choose from, it gives a glimpse into the diversity that’s out there waiting to be watched and enjoyed. We’ll be posting one staff pick every other day. We Read more …


A Mother-and-son Perspective on a Pollinator Garden

Published on May 28, 2015

In honor of Mother’s Day, we thought it would be nice to have a mother’s perspective on pollinator gardening. Alice Vaughan wrote a lovely narrative of her bee garden on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Alice’s son, Mace (who co-directs our pollinator program), added his memories of sharing in the garden. Alice’s View of Her Garden Read more …


Delectable Native Plants Attract a Very Special Crowd

Published on May 20, 2015

What do cherries, plums, serviceberries, black raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and crab apples have in common (apart from making your mouth water)? What about blueberries, cranberries, teaberries, and kinnikinnick? All are fruits of North American plants pollinated by native bees, flies, and other insects. Cherries and company are all in the rose family, while blueberries and Read more …


Wildflowers, Harbingers of Spring

Published on April 28, 2015

The delicate blossoms of spring wildflowers are often the first splashes of color after a long winter. Some, like pasque flowers (Pulsatilla spp.), even push their blooms up through the snow. Spring wildflowers are a welcome sight for tickle bees and other early-emerging pollinators at a time when nectar and pollen sources can be scarce, Read more …