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Reducing Pesticide Use & Impacts

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!

Usually considered competitors with livestock for forage, grasshoppers can actually be beneficial to rangelands by affecting plant composition, and even influence the soil microbial communities. They also play a critical role in the grassland food web. Despite the inability to tie grasshopper densities to the potential for damage, planes and ground crews are deployed every summer to spray against grasshoppers.

Since 2016, more than five million acres of crops—an area roughly the size of New Jersey—have been injured by dicamba drifting off site. Concerned landowners and volunteer monitoring efforts also have raised the alarm about extensive drift damage to wild plant communities across the Midwest and mid-South.

Problems arise in even the most well-planned gardens, and it can be frustrating to see your plants suffering from an insect pest or disease. Learn how you can identify and respond to pests in your home garden and yard in ways that maintain the health and resilience of your local ecosystem.