Pesticides in Your Garden


Pesticides, including herbicides, fungicides and insecticides, are easily available to gardeners. Yet, most home pest problems can be addressed without pesticides and the associated harm they bring to bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects living in your garden. Lawn and garden use of pesticide doesn’t just affect the wildlife around a home. Pesticides move offsite with irrigation or rainwater flowing into storm drains and streams. Urban streams have been found to be as polluted with pesticides as their agricultural counterparts.

If an insect or other pest problem does warrant intervention, don’t immediately reach for a pesticide. Pests are most often the symptom of a problem, not the problem itself. Start by considering what factors are allowing the pest to thrive: Using a pesticide won’t change that.

If you want to take your efforts out to the broader community you could also ask your local nursery or garden center to stock native plants that have not been treated with systemic insecticides and encourage your city or park district to use alternatives to pesticides when caring for the land they oversee.

You can read more about pesticides and the risks they pose with the following resources:


Fact Sheet: Fungicide Impacts on Pollinators

Protecting Pollinators from Pesticides: Fungicide Impacts on Pollinators. By Emily May, Aimée Code, and Sarah Hoyle. Though most fungicide exposures won’t kill a bee immediately, a growing body of research suggests that some fungicides can cause subtle yet significant harm. This fact sheet delves into how these impacts on pollinators occur, and offers mitigation measures and alternative pest management strategies. Read more.


Smarter Pest Management

Smarter Pest Management: Protecting Pollinators at Home. By Aimée Code, and Sarah Hoyle. Making your home pollinator-friendly is easy and rewarding. Most of North America’s native bee species only forage over a distance of a few hundred yards, so with a little planning, your yard can provide a safe space for bees and other pollinators to thrive. All you need to give them are flowering plants throughout the growing season, undisturbed places to nest, and protection from pesticides. This guide will help you with the last item, managing yard pests in a pollinator-friendly way. Read more.


Neonicotinoids in Your Garden

Neonicotinoids are a group of insecticides that are used widely on farms, as well as around our homes, schools, and city landscapes. Used to protect against sap-sucking and leaf-chewing insects, neonicotinoids are systemic, which means they are absorbed by the plant tissues and expressed in all parts, including nectar and pollen. Unfortunately, bees, butterflies, and Read more …

Protecting Bees from Neonicotinoid Insecticides in Your Garden

Neonicotinoids are a group of insecticides that are used widely on farms, as well as around our homes, schools, and city landscapes. This brochure explains why they are a risk to bees, gives examples of neonicotinoid garden products, and gives some simple tips for protecting bees from these insecticides. Click here to download this brochure as Read more …

Bring Back The Pollinators Campaign

Join thousands of others who have pledged to provide habitat and protect pollinators from pesticides. Read more.

Wings Fall 2015 (Vol 38, #2) Rethinking Pesticides

Fall 2015 (Vol 38, #2) Rethinking Pesticides Scott Hoffman Black, Rethinking Pesticides Thelma Heidel-Baker and Scott Hoffman Black, Pursuing a Thoughtful Balance in the Management of Insect Pests Celeste Searles Mazzacano, Mosquitoes, Wildlife, and People Aimee Code, Neonicotinoids: Silver Bullets that Misfired Conservation Spotlight: Monarchs and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Invertebrate Notes: A Read more …


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Contact Us

Email us with your questions and comments about pesticides.

Pesticide Learning Center

Use the links below to learn about pesticide impacts and alternatives

IPI Database

Examining the impacts of pesticides on invertebrates, the IPI Database is a collection of summaries of recent research articles reviewed by our pesticide program staff. Most studies are focused on the effects that pesticides have on invertebrates, primarily pollinators and aquatic species. Visit the Database

Neonicotinoids and Bees


Now availaible as a revised and expanded second edition, our report examins the science behind the role these insecticides play in harming bees. Read More

Rethinking Pesticides


Our Fall 2015 issue of Wings is entirely devoted to discussing pesticide-related issues and implications across the landscape.Read More

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