Xerces Blog Archive


High country bumble bee (Bombus kirbiellus)

The Source of Hope and Wonder Comes in Small Packages

Published on September 10, 2019

One of our senior endangered species conservation biologists trekked into Washington state’s Pasayten Wilderness to find the elusive high country bumble bee (Bombus kirbiellus).


Xerces Society Iowa workshop

Working Together in Iowa to Find the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee

Published on September 4, 2019

Sarah Nizzi, Farm Bill Pollinator Conservation Planner and NRCS Partner Biologist, along with two other natural resource professionals from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, recently taught more than 50 fellow natural resource practitioners about the biology, ecology, and identification of Iowa’s bumble bees, as well as specifics on the federally endangered rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis).


Karner blue butterfly

Insects Lose as Trump Administration Weakens the Endangered Species Act

Published on August 29, 2019

Who really wants to live in and pass on a world without a diversity of butterflies to fill the sky, bees to pollinate our food and flowers, and fireflies to light up the night? Clearly, those who wrote and support these new rules think that is an acceptable future.


People crouch to plant native vegetation in this low-angle photo.

Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – August 2019

Published on August 26, 2019

Select updates from our team of restoration ecologists, entomologists, plant ecologists, and researchers. August’s featured staff conducted a successful pollinator habitat workshop in Nebraska, and have been busy building beetle banks in Iowa.


A female harvester butterfly ovipositing by an aphid colony. Her body is arced, so that the back end of her body is touching the pale green vine she is perched on. There are many gray aphids on the vine near her.

Fun with Harvester Butterflies, Part Two

Published on August 21, 2019

Recently, photographer Bryan E. Reynolds earned a long-sought set of photos of the elusive harvester butterfly, North America’s only carnivorous butterfly.


Downtown Portland trees

Climate News Round-Up: The Power of Trees!

Published on August 13, 2019

Carbon sequestration is a key component to mitigating the climate crisis. There has been a lot of focus on the potential for new technologies to effectively remove carbon from the atmosphere, but there are no technologies in existence or on the horizon that can compete with trees in terms of carbon sequestration. Trees are efficient, effective, and they can be deployed on a large scale.


Fungicide Impacts on Pollinators

New Xerces Fact Sheet Takes a Deeper Look at Fungicides and Their Effects on Pollinators

Published on August 5, 2019

The Xerces Society’s new fact sheet, Protecting Pollinators from Pesticides: Fungicide Impacts on Pollinators, reviews the current literature on fungicides and pollinators to help piece together potential risks and how best to respond.


Monarchs mating in Nevada

Community Science Powers New Western Monarch Studies

Published on July 30, 2019

Western monarch researchers and community scientists have been busy, contributing information vital to understanding the situation facing this imperiled population of America’s most well-known butterfly.


A blueberry carton with the Bee Better Certified seal is pictured

Arriving in Stores: Bee Better Certified Blueberries

Published on July 11, 2019

In partnership with AC Foods and Oregon Tilth, we’re pleased to announce the arrival of California Giant brand Bee Better Certified organic blueberries. Sourced from farms near Independence, Oregon and arriving soon at a variety of grocery stores, these berries represent tremendous dedication and conservation ethic by the farms that produced them.


Fireflies and star trails

Celebrate World Firefly Day by Keeping Nights Dark

Published on July 5, 2019

Fireflies are some of our most well-loved insects—yet their numbers appear to be dwindling. One likely driver for this decline is light pollution. Put simply, fireflies need dark nights. This is the theme of this year’s World Firefly Day; read on for information on how to support the conservation of these beloved beetles!


Central Washington pollinator habitat planting - Xerces Society

Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – June 2019

Published on June 27, 2019

June’s featured staff share their work with inspiring partners spanning large-scale agriculture, to family farms, to a unique urban agriculture fellowship program. These stories are from all across the country, from central Washington, to Wisconsin, to Virginia.


Xerces Society Pollinator Habitat Sign

Let’s Make Every Week Pollinator Week!

Published on June 23, 2019

Without a doubt, every week is Pollinator Week here at the Xerces Society. Our staff are consistently working with farmers, public land managers, suburban park managers, and gardeners, providing guidance on planning and creating habitat. Here are a variety of ways to support our efforts to conserve these vital invertebrates throughout the year—no matter where you live!


Monarch - Xerces Society

Working to Conserve Monarchs from Coast to Coast

Published on June 21, 2019

The migration of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus plexippus) is an awe-inspiring sight that heralds the changing seasons across much of North America. Sadly, these inspiring migrations have experienced significant declines in the past few decades. The Xerces Society is working across the U.S. to conserve this beloved species, and there are a number of ways you can help!


Remember the Ground Nesting Bees when You Make Your Patch of Land Pollinator-Friendly

Published on June 20, 2019

Seventy percent of native bee species in the United States are ground nesting. Providing nesting sites (they are drawn to sunny, bare soil) and reducing or eliminating pesticide use is key to supporting these important pollinators.


Managing Invertebrate-Friendly Gardens

Published on June 19, 2019

Many Xerces Society members create wildlife gardens that are particularly hospitable to invertebrates, and among them are some wonderful examples. I recently spoke with Bert and Betty Feingold, Lenora Larson, and Dennis Krusac and Jacqueline Belwood to find out more about how these dedicated gardeners care for insects in their own backyards.


Brown-belted bumble bee (Bombus griseocollis)

Introducing Xerces’ Newest Community Science Project: Nebraska Bumble Bee Atlas

Published on June 18, 2019

To help further our understanding of, and conservation efforts for, bumble bees, the Xerces Society has launched the Nebraska Bumble Bee Atlas. This community science project offers locals the opportunity to work alongside researchers to collect data that will shed light on the distribution, status, and habitat needs of Nebraska’s bumble bees.


Ashland, Oregon - Bee City USA

Bee City USA: Galvanizing Communities to Reverse Pollinator Decline

Published on June 17, 2019

It is imperative that we change our idea of a desirable landscape away from one of large green lawns treated with chemicals and bordered by predominantly exotic plants to one of a diversity of native plants free of pesticides. This effort takes place one person, one neighborhood, and one community at a time, and the most successful affiliates recognize that becoming a Bee City is not a short-term commitment.


Xerces Society Pollinator Habitat sign

Bring Back the Pollinators During National Pollinator Week

Published on

Celebrate Pollinator Week by committing to bring back the pollinators! Our Bring Back the Pollinators campaign is based on the fact that pollinators need only a few things, which anyone can provide in a remarkably small space: flowers from which to drink nectar and gather pollen, a place to lay eggs or build a nest, and freedom from pesticides.


New iNaturalist Project Makes it Easier to Submit Data to the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper

Published on June 7, 2019

Now you can submit data to the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper using the iNaturalist app on a smartphone or tablet (iOS and Android are both supported). This new way of submitting data makes it easier to share photos and locality data—and we need all hands on deck this season, to better understand the hurdles facing the imperiled western monarch population!


Monarch and golden soldier beetle on thistle

Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – May 2019

Published on May 30, 2019

May’s featured staff share stories of building pollinator habitat that will also support monarchs—one project on a farm in Iowa, and the other in a park in Missouri.


Firefly jar

Taking a Stand for Firefly Species Facing Extinction

Published on May 15, 2019

The Xerces Society and the Center for Biological Diversity have submitted a joint petition for the emergency listing of the Bethany Beach firefly (Photuris bethaniensis)—with a request for the concurrent designation of critical habitat—under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).


Conservation Biological Control - Xerces Society

Reflecting on a Multi-Year Conservation Biological Control Project

Published on May 9, 2019

From 2015–2019, the Xerces Society brought a series of 61 day-long courses on conservation biological control to 49 states and 2,000 participants, with far-ranging results.


Rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis)

Five Ways Wildlife Preservation Canada’s Bumble Bee Recovery & Conservation Initiatives are Benefitting from the Success of Bumble Bee Watch

Published on May 2, 2019

Since its launch in 2014, and thanks to its growing popularity each year, Bumble Bee Watch has generated an enormous dataset devoted to cataloging North America’s bumble bee fauna, and the information it contains has enabled us to tackle important questions in bumble bee ecology.


Flowering clover in almond orchard

Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – April 2019

Published on April 30, 2019

April’s featured staff are all Farm Bill Pollinator Conservation Planners, and are spread across the country—driving the adoption of cover cropping in California, guiding blueberry farmers to become more pollinator-friendly in Maine, and raising awareness of the importance of rangeland for pollinator conservation in North Dakota.


How to Support Monarch Butterfly Conservation—During Earth Week and Beyond!

Published on April 27, 2019

Helping the monarch back to full health isn’t going to be easy or quick, but we can’t stand by and do nothing. If we all plant a small patch of milkweed and nectar plants, and all think about how we can change our actions to make things better for monarchs, together we can transform the landscape to allow the monarch to rebound—and give our children the gift of watching orange wings flap in the sunshine.


Long-horned bee

Bee City USA Mobilizes Communities to Support Imperiled Pollinators—Here’s How to Join

Published on April 26, 2019

Earth Week is an inspiring time, brimming with opportunities to make a difference in the days following Earth Day—and beyond. If you want to mobilize your city or county to make room for pollinators, then the Xerces Society’s initiative, Bee City USA, may have the formula you need. Bee City USA founder Phyllis Stiles explains how to get your community certified.


Honoring Robbin Thorp, a Legendary Figure in North American Bee Conservation

Published on April 24, 2019

Robbin Thorp, Professor Emeritus at University of California–Davis, has made lasting contributions to the bee conservation community in ways that might never be measured, but will certainly be felt. As such, it is fitting to recognize this living legend of North American bumble bee conservation during Earth Week.


Garden Gloves & Weeds

Pesticide-Free Gardening Tips for Earth Week and Beyond

Published on April 23, 2019

In a home garden, the Xerces Society urges people to consider non-chemical pest management. To meet this challenge, please consider spending Earth Week in the garden, enjoying the diversity of insects, and taking a few of the actions outlined below to simultaneously minimize pest problems and avoid the use of pesticides.


Bee Better Certified pollinator habitat at Erdman Family Farms

Bee Better Certified Engages the Almond Industry

Published on April 22, 2019

With a robust set of requirements on pesticide use and the highest standards for protecting and restoring pollinator habitat of any food certification, Bee Better Certified represents a new era in biodiversity protection on farms—and what better time to celebrate this program’s growth than during Earth Week?


Earth Week - Xerces Society

Pledge to Bring Back the Pollinators—on Earth Day and Every Day

Published on

During Earth Week 2019, we are asking you to consider taking simple, yet impactful, steps to make the world better for bees, butterflies, and other essential invertebrates.


Community Scientists Take on the Cultivar Conundrum

Published on April 10, 2019

The Xerces Society’s blog post “Picking Plants for Pollinators: The Cultivar Conundrum” highlighted the lack of research on this topic, which limits our ability to make informed choices regarding the use of cultivars for supporting pollinators and other beneficial insects. To help address this knowledge gap, Budburst launched the Nativars research project in 2018.


Announcing the 2019 DeWind Awardees

Published on April 3, 2019

The Xerces Society is happy to announce the 2019 Dewind awardees: Niranjana Krishnan, a PhD candidate at Iowa State University, and Molly Wiebush, a master’s student at Florida State University.


Yellow-banded bumble bee (Bombus terricola)

A Quest for Bumble Bee Nests: The Missing Link

Published on March 26, 2019

Researchers at York University are recruiting members from across North America for a very important mission. You will need to be vigilant, always observing. This subject is elusive. Determination, a sharp eye, and a smartphone will be your greatest assets. The mission, should you choose to accept it: find and submit sightings of bumble bee nests.


Bee Better Certified: An Evolving Standard

Published on March 22, 2019

After a year and a half of Bee Better Certified, we have analyzed how the standards work for the many operations that are already implementing them, and have adjusted our requirements accordingly.


Baller Beneficials 2019 Champions

Baller Beneficials! The 2019 Xerces Society Division 1 Beneficial Insect Championship

Published on March 21, 2019

The 2019 Xerces Society Division 1 Beneficial Invertebrate Championship was a wild ride, with many upsets—and, of course, at the heart of it was the opportunity to learn about a wide array of fascinating creatures.


Community Scientists Can Help Support Imperiled Western Monarchs

Published on March 12, 2019

We encourage everyone to take some time while hiking in the California coast range, California Central Valley, and the rest of the West, to help researchers by submitting any and all monarch and milkweed observations this year to the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper website.


Mexico monarchs

Photo Essay: Trinational Monarch Meeting and Exploring Mexico’s Monarch Overwintering Sites

Published on March 7, 2019

Xerces Society Endangered Species Conservation Biologist and Western Monarch Lead Emma Pelton recounts her recent experience in Mexico with this photo essay.


Pollinator Garden

Mitigating the Effects of Heat on Urban Pollinators

Published on March 6, 2019

By coming together with others in our communities who care about climate change—and working to increase the numbers of those who care—we will be able to bring about the changes that are needed before it’s too late for our pollinators.


North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University Hedgerow

Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – February 2019

Published on February 25, 2019

February’s featured staff member has been working on a hedgerow featuring diverse native species in North Carolina.


Quino checkerspot butterfly

National Butterfly Center Gets Reprieve—But Border Wall Will Impact Much More

Published on February 15, 2019

There are many reasons to oppose the wall along the southern border—including the loss of habitat for some of our smallest and most important animals.


Cedaroak Trillium Garden

Cedaroak Park Primary School Gardens Offer Learning Opportunities

Published on February 11, 2019

Being assigned to create an interpretive panel for Cedaroak Park Primary School, where I attended grade school, was a special experience.


New Year’s Count of Western Monarchs Confirms Decline, Trends Seen in Previous Years

Published on February 5, 2019

Overall, the count data revealed an average decrease of 38% between the Thanksgiving and New Year’s counts.


Yellow Banded Bumble Bee

Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – January 2019

Published on January 28, 2019

January’s featured staff have been working on establishing pollinator habitat with a multi-year hedgerow project in California’s Central Valley; and, in Maine, collaborating with a diverse array of partners and stakeholders to both facilitate habitat restoration for native bees and navigate the ins and outs of the Endangered Species Act.


Monarch overwintering in California

Record Low Number of Overwintering Monarch Butterflies in California—They Need Your Help!

Published on January 17, 2019

We urge you to join us and our colleagues in the western monarch science and conservation community in taking meaningful, swift action to help save western monarchs.


Long horned bee on plains coreopsis

Pollinators and the 2018 Farm Bill 

Published on January 10, 2019

Although we did not get everything we wanted in the 2018 Farm Bill, the very good news is that pollinators are still a priority for the USDA and the Natural Resource Conservation Service—and formal commitments to support conservation efforts are now in effect for at least the next five years.


Xerces Society habitat planting in California's Central Valley

Climate News Round-Up: January 2019

Published on January 3, 2019

Climate change is an unprecedented global challenge. The magnitude of the problem and the consequences of inaction can be overwhelming, but there is still time to act. While the federal government is rolling back some of the progress that has been made in reducing carbon emissions, many cities, states, and businesses around the country remain committed to climate action. We can build on this momentum and support further action.


Pollinator habitat at a Tree Top Grower's orchard

Businesses Aligning with the Life that Sustains Us

Published on December 20, 2018

The trend of business owners aligning with social and environmental causes is on the rise. Here at the Xerces Society, we are feeling these benefits—and are very thankful for the support.


Prairie wildflowers

Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – December 2018

Published on December 17, 2018

December’s featured staff hail from Iowa and Minnesota, and have been making significant impacts in their respective states by educating farmers and other members of the public, helping to restore and build new habitat, and pushing for policies that support pollinators and other beneficial insects.


Freshwater mussel

Are Freshwater Mussels in Hot Water?

Published on December 13, 2018

Conservation efforts for freshwater mussels, already challenging because of the demands upon fresh water from farming, industry, and human settlements, must now also contend with the threats posed by the warming climate. The impacts will result both from the changing environment and from our response to those changes, including our choices for managing water bodies and associated habitat.


Where Do Pollinators Go in the Winter?

Published on December 10, 2018

As the leaves and temperatures drop, it might be tempting to forget about your pollinator garden until spring. But don’t call it quits just yet! While it may seem like the bees have vanished for the year, they haven’t actually gone anywhere.


Rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis)

Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – November 2018

Published on December 3, 2018

November’s featured staff hail from Minnesota, Indiana, and California, and have been conducting training and outreach events, helping General Mills to implement their plan to plant 3,300 acres of pollinator habitat, and monitoring farm habitat plantings in the San Joaquin Valley.


Monarch overwintering in California

Early Thanksgiving Counts Show a Critically Low Monarch Population in California

Published on November 29, 2018

The California overwintering population has been reduced to less than 0.5% of its historical size, and has declined by 86% compared to 2017. While western monarchs are facing unprecedented challenges right now, there is still hope that we can recover the population if we work quickly, strategically, and together.


A Shifting Climate Creates Winners and Losers

Published on November 27, 2018

To mitigate the impacts of climate change we need to increase the amount of high-quality and resilient habitat everywhere. Natural areas are the glue that holds all other habitat together, but for insects even small patches in connected networks within agricultural, suburban, urban, and other landscapes can be beneficial. Whether you are a gardener, a farmer, or the manager of a park or nature reserve, you can take action to protect and restore habitat. Xerces has resources to help on our website.


Monarch flying over showy milkweed, Oregon

Western Monarch Numbers Expected to Be Low this Year

Published on November 15, 2018

You may be asking “What can I do to help the monarch?” Besides protecting habitat, avoiding pesticide use, and planting gardens, another way is to contribute monarch and milkweed data to Xerces-led citizen science efforts—namely, the Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count and the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper.


Willapa Bay Oyster Beds

Pesticide Program Update: Bee City USA, Treated Seeds, and Protecting Washington’s Waters

Published on November 13, 2018

The Pesticide Team’s efforts are varied, diverse, and plentiful, and thus it is difficult to summarize their work in one blog post! Nevertheless, here are select highlights from the summer and fall.


Swallowtail butterfly

The Striking Beauty of Oklahoma’s Butterflies

Published on November 9, 2018

Oklahoma’s impressive butterfly fauna of more than 170 species includes the nation’s largest (the giant swallowtail) and the smallest (the western pygmy blue), and representatives of all six major butterfly families: Papilionidae (swallowtails), Pieridae (whites and sulphurs), Lycaenidae (gossamerwings), Hesperiidae (skippers), Riodinidae (metalmarks), and Nymphalidae (brush-foots).


Adonis Blue Butterfly

Ups and Downs of English Chalk Grasslands

Published on November 1, 2018

About a third of Britain’s sixty resident butterfly species may be encountered on chalk grasslands, including small skipper, green hairstreak, small copper, meadow brown, Duke of Burgundy, and marbled white, but it is a handful of blues—common, chalkhill, small, and Adonis—that may be most characteristic of this habitat.


Aster

Fall Garden Tips to Benefit Bumble Bees All Year

Published on October 30, 2018

The growing season may be winding down, but fall is an important time to create habitat for bumble bees and other native pollinators. The work you do now will help support overwintering pollinators and support the next generation of bumble bees.


Viceroy and Red-spotted Purple hybrid, Limenitis archippus archippus X

My First Hybrid: Limenitis archippus archippus × Limenitis arthemis astyanax

Published on October 25, 2018

Recently, photographer Bryan E. Reynolds encountered a rare hybrid of two of his favorite butterfly species—a well-deserved sighting for a passionate lepidopterist!


Funastrum cynanchoides

Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – October 2018

Published on October 23, 2018

Select updates from our team of restoration ecologists, entomologists, plant ecologists, and researchers.


Cuyahoga River Fire

Reflections and Exhortations on the Anniversary of the Clean Water Act

Published on October 18, 2018

Although the future of our nation’s water is currently murky, we still have time to make things right. We have the past successes of the environmental movement for inspiration, and the research and recommendations of hundreds of modern scientists to strive towards.


Western Bumble Bee

The Xerces Society Seeks Endangered Species Protections for California Bumble Bees

Published on October 16, 2018

Protecting these species is not only the right thing to do; it will also help to maintain the healthy ecosystems that make California such a remarkable and productive state.


Apples

Celebrate Invertebrates During National Apple Month

Published on October 10, 2018

We owe our beautiful autumn apple harvest to invertebrates—pollinators and beneficial insects alike. No matter how you obtain your apples—whether you pick them yourself, grab them at the grocery store, or go bobbing for them—it is important to take a moment to remember the invertebrates that make this delicious harvest possible.


Firefly jar

Keeping the Lights Burning: The Status of Fireflies in the United States and Canada

Published on October 1, 2018

If there is one thing we have discovered during our assessment effort, it is that there is still much to be learned about the world of fireflies. Xerces will continue to seek a better understanding of these enchanting animals and how best to protect them. May their lights shine on for their sakes, and for ours.


Rachel Carson

Celebrating the Legacy of Rachel Carson

Published on September 27, 2018

The environmental complexities Rachel Carson illuminated in Silent Spring are only part of her far-reaching impact. Her raw determination, even in the face of severe illness, and her propensity for breaking barriers, provide a compelling example for environmentalists. May we all continue the fight for the well-being of invertebrates, ecosystems, and our world.


Squash bee (Xenoglossa)

Can Robobees Solve the Pollination Crisis?

Published on September 17, 2018

The problem is more complex than just crops. At least 85 percent of all terrestrial plant species either require or strongly benefit from some form of animal pollination, and the idea of robotic pollinators ignores the many wild plants in meadows, prairies, hedgerows, and forests. Focusing solely on crop pollination and failing to take the pollination of native plants into account may well lead to a deterioration in the plant communities that make up the very fabric of our environment.


Keep Monarchs Wild!

Published on September 11, 2018

Instead of rearing—which is risky and unproven in helping monarchs—we should focus on more effective ways to conserve these glorious wild animals. Our tactics should address the reasons the species is in trouble to begin with. We can do this through taking action to protect natural habitat; to plant native milkweed and flowers; avoid pesticides; support wildlife-friendly, local, and organic agriculture; contribute to research efforts via citizen science; and organize ourselves to push for policy changes.


The Endangered Species Act needs your help!

Published on August 29, 2018

We need your voice to help defend one of our most important wildlife protection laws. Since 1973, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been at the forefront of species protection, placing the United States as a world leader in science-based conservation. The ESA is our nation’s most effective law for protecting animals and plants in Read more …


Lincoln Brower

Lincoln Brower: A Life Well Spent

Published on July 31, 2018

Remembering a ground-breaking monarch researcher, a passionate advocate for monarchs, and a beloved member of the conservation community.


Kicking Off Canadian Bumble Bee Watch Training Events!

Published on July 26, 2018

During Pollinator Week this year (June 18th to 24th) multiple locations in Ontario and Alberta were buzzing with activity, including an assortment of Bumble Bee Watch citizen science training events led by Wildlife Preservation Canada (WPC). Although anyone with a camera and internet access can participate in Bumble Bee Watch, a variety of projects are Read more …


#PicturePerfectPollinator Photo Contest Winners

Published on July 2, 2018

Thanks for all the entries into our Pollinator Week photo contest! You can review all the entries here! Facebook | Twitter | Instagram Winner “Most Interesting” Category   Winner “Prettiest Pollinator” Category   Winner “Best of Show” Category   Honorable Mentions With nearly 2,000 entries it was tough to choose. Here are some other favorite Read more …


Bumble Bee Die-Off Under Investigation in Virginia

Published on June 21, 2018

Pollinator week is set at an ideal time in mid-June. People around the country are enjoying the profusion of pollinators visiting the flowering plants in and around their neighborhoods. Unfortunately, bee kill incidents have marred what should be a week of celebration. Here in my own state of Oregon, between 2013 – 2015, there were Read more …


Xerces Society + Bee City USA = A Match Made in Pollinator Heaven

Published on June 11, 2018

For over 45 years, the Xerces Society has worked to make a better world for bees, butterflies, tiger beetles, snails, mussels, and many other invertebrates, and ultimately, to make a better world for us. We have worked to protect the most vulnerable animals on the planet, provided information on how to protect these animals to Read more …


Surprising Results from a Survey of Bumble Bee Watch Users!

Published on May 23, 2018

This past February, Bumble Bee Watch (BBW) users were invited to take a survey run by York University researchers to learn more about participant demographics, motives, and confidence with bumble bee identification. Three hundred forty-two people from across Canada and the United States responded to the survey, representing members of various ages, locations, and years Read more …


From the Field: Trees for Bees

Published on May 15, 2018

Last Friday, I visited Mt. Cuba Center botanical garden in Hockessin, DE to give a presentation. Over the past few years, I have had the honor of being invited to Mt. Cuba to talk about pollinators, beneficial insects, and different steps we can all take to improve habitat for these important animals. Each time I Read more …


Connecticut’s Sandplains Need Protection

Published on May 11, 2018

Sandplains are one of New England’s rarest ecosystems. Areas of dry sandy soil left by glacial outwash, sandplains support sparse vegetation and bare ground. At first glance, a sandplain looks like a scruffy wasteland, hardly something worth standing up for—and typically, no one has. Sandplains have been subjected to mining, development, and fragmentation resulting in Read more …


‘Weird and Wonderful’ Plants for Pollinators: Pale Indian Plantain

Published on

In celebration of National Wildflower Week, we’re highlighting some of our favorite “weird and wonderful” plants for pollinators. You can find the best plants for pollinators anytime at xerces.org/plant-lists. Pale Indian Plantain Arnoglossum atriplicifolium (Syn. Cacalia atriplicifolia) Not to be confused with the banana-like vegetable known from Cuban cuisine, nor the common broadleaf “weed” found in Read more …


‘Weird and Wonderful’ Plants for Pollinators: Wild Quinine

Published on May 10, 2018

In celebration of National Wildflower Week, we’re highlighting some of our favorite “weird and wonderful” plants for pollinators. You can find the best plants for pollinators anytime at xerces.org/plant-lists. Wild Quinine Parthenium integrifolium   Also known as wild feverfew, this plant has a long history of medicinal use by Native Americans and the U.S. ARMY. Read more …


‘Weird and Wonderful’ Plants for Pollinators: Rattlesnake Master

Published on May 9, 2018

In celebration of National Wildflower Week, we’re highlighting some of our favorite “weird and wonderful” plants for pollinators. You can find the best plants for pollinators anytime at xerces.org/plant-lists. Rattlesnake Master Eryngium yuccifolium   Everything about rattlesnake master is a bit peculiar. The plants grow in the prairies and meadows of the eastern U.S., yet Read more …


‘Weird and Wonderful’ Plants for Pollinators: Prairie Smoke

Published on May 7, 2018

In celebration of National Wildflower Week we’re highlighting some of our favorite “weird and wonderful” plants for pollinators. You can find the best plants for pollinators anytime at xerces.org/plant-lists. Prairie Smoke Geum triflorum Where there’s smoke, there’s fire – but where there’s prairie smoke, there are bumble bees, buzz-pollination, and a bit of thievery. As Read more …


Bee Friendlier With Your Lawncare

Published on May 6, 2018

A lush, green, weed-free lawn is as American as apple pie. It tells the whole neighborhood that you are a competent, hard-working, contributing member of society. Dandelions and overgrown lawn are a sign of neglect, incompetence, and laziness – or so our traditional American landscape would have you believe. Americans have a love affair with Read more …


Managing for Monarchs in the West: A new guide to protecting the monarch butterfly from the Pacific to the Rockies.

Published on April 30, 2018

Monarch butterflies in western North America are in trouble. What was once a huge number of monarchs that converged on overwintering sites in coastal California has dwindled year after year. The number of butterflies has fallen by over 95% since the 1980s, with declines also observed in breeding populations during the spring and summer. With Read more …


10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Published on April 20, 2018

Of course, every day is a great day to support invertebrates and their habitat – but Earth Day is a great time to do something extra special. Here are some ways you can work to promote a healthy planet for invertebrates and the people they let share their planet. Plant something for pollinators: Here’s a Read more …


Tropical Milkweed – a No Grow?

Published on April 19, 2018

Tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) is a non-native milkweed that has exploded in popularity in response to the demand for milkweed. It is simple to propagate, allowing growers to rapidly produce the plant for quick sale. The plant is also attractive, both to humans and monarchs, providing flowers and lush green foliage throughout the growing season Read more …


Unblinded by Science

Published on April 13, 2018

The Xerces Society has become well-known for our publications, trainings, and for the acres of habitat we’ve worked to protect and restore. What is often less visible is the scientific work our staff are engaged in which underpins these efforts. More than two-thirds of our staff are scientists with diverse backgrounds and expertise, who are Read more …


Rain Gardens Are a Win/Win

Published on April 4, 2018

When it rains, where does the water go? Many erroneously assume storm water is captured, treated, and returned to the water supply. In fact, this is not the case in municipal water systems, where the cost and difficulty associated with treating stormwater makes such a prospect untenable. The reality is that the rain that pours Read more …


Meet Indiana’s Official State Insect

Published on March 26, 2018

What began as a geography lesson for students of Maggie Samudio’s second grade class at Cumberland Elementary School in West Lafayette, Indiana, took a detour to subjects of entomology, politics, and perseverance. After four years of lobbying, letter writing, and campaigning, Say’s firefly has become Indiana’s first state insect. Four years ago Kayla Xu made Read more …


Scientists Urge Action to Protect Waters from Neonicotinoid Insecticides

Published on March 13, 2018

Will California’s regulators take steps to curtail neonicotinoid water pollution? If they take the advice of scientists, they will. Today, a group of 56 scientists that includes many prominent researchers studying the effects of neonicotinoids sent a letter to California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) highlighting the threat neonicotinoids pose to the health of California’s Read more …


Second New Year’s Count Supports Monarchs Movement Between Sites

Published on March 7, 2018

The Xerces Society’s Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count provides a long-running record of the number of monarchs overwintering in California—including the steep decline of recent decades. Volunteers and biologists who take part in the Thanksgiving Count have been invaluable in monitoring the monarch population each fall for over twenty years. Last year, another count was added Read more …


What to do While Waiting Out Winter

Published on March 5, 2018

T.S. Eliot believed April to be the cruelest month. I’ve long contended, however, that he was a month late. Where I live, in Central Pennsylvania, March brings both the random 60-degree day as well as punishing ice storms. It’s not unheard of to have 40-degree temperature swings within a 24 hour period, or to have Read more …


Newly released monarch overwintering site management plan provides blueprint for protecting and managing monarch groves

Published on March 2, 2018

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Groundswell Coastal Ecology, California Department of Parks and Recreation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have developed a western monarch butterfly overwintering site management plan that also serves as a template for land managers at other overwintering sites. The Monarch Butterfly Overwintering Site Management Plan for Lighthouse Field Read more …


How Our Gardening Choices Affect the Health of Our Waterways

Published on February 22, 2018

This article originally appeared in our Fall 2017 issue of Wings Magazine “Why do you have so many animals in your yard?” Curious who was speaking, I looked up from weeding to see a small boy standing on the sidewalk watching bumble bees collect pollen from the California poppies. I smiled and replied, “I created Read more …


Valentine’s Day: For the Love of Flies

Published on February 14, 2018

Today, many of us are strategically navigating a heart-shaped box of assorted chocolates hoping to avoid the weird crème filled in favor of the delicious toffees and nougats. This delicious gift, and all of our other favorite chocolate fixes, come from cacao (or chocolate) trees, which depend on insect pollination to set fruits that contain Read more …


Very Low Numbers of Monarchs Overwintering in California may Reflect an Unusual Fall

Published on February 1, 2018

The Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count (WMTC) tracks the population of monarch butterflies that overwinter along the Pacific Coast in California and Baja California. Started in 1997, WMTC is one of the longest-running insect monitoring projects in the country. Continuing the tradition, this year, more than 150 enthusiastic volunteers spread out along the coast to find Read more …


Staff Stories: Life in the Suburbs

Published on

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of Wings Magazine With their manicured lawns and neat houses, the suburbs may not seem like welcoming places for wild creatures. Given a chance, though, wildlife will find a way to coexist with people. Suburbs are often less densely developed than older urban centers, and such Read more …


Wildlife Preservation Canada Continues Training “Bumble Bee Watchers”

Published on January 19, 2018

There are 40 different species of native bumble bee in Canada, and evidence suggests that up to a third of them are currently in decline. One of the most extreme examples of decline is the rusty-patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis). Formerly among the most common species across its range, it is now officially listed as Read more …


Sran Family Orchards: The First Bee Better Certified Farm

Published on January 10, 2018

As 2017 was drawing to a close, while many people were planning to fanfare the New Year, Sran Family Orchards quietly passed a different milestone: It became the first farm to become Bee Better Certified. Gaining this certification is recognition for the Sran family’s years of unheralded dedication, and we couldn’t be happier that Sran Read more …


California halts consideration of new uses of neonicotinoids in the state

Published on January 8, 2018

California has just taken a positive step for pollinators, aquatic organisms and all of us that rely on these important invertebrates. This week the California Department of Pesticide Regulation announced that, effective immediately, DPR will not consider applications for any new uses of a class of neonicotinoid insecticides which includes imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin and dinotefuran Read more …


Addressing Conservation in Urban Areas

Published on December 26, 2017

During my life I’ve had the good fortune to have worked on a broad range of conservation issues—canvassing to stop a dam on Nebraska’s Niobrara River when I was a teenager; seeking to limit the impact of off-road vehicles on national forests; participating in large landscapescale conservation of old-growth forests in the Sierra Nevada; and Read more …


From the Field: Counting Monarchs in Pismo Beach

Published on November 29, 2017

The Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count (WMTC) is in full swing, continuing through December 3rd – when hundreds of thousands of monarchs arrive along the California coast as part of their long-distance seasonal migration. The WMTC is a long-term citizen science monitoring effort and the enthusiasm within the count is truly contagious. From the Xerces office Read more …