Agricultural Pesticide Use


Fifty-one percent of the United State’s 2.3 billion acres of land are used for agricultural purposes. Modern farming has transformed our landscape, and often in ways that are harmful to wildlife. The Xerces Society works with farmers to bring habitat back into our agricultural lands. Within that, we work to promote pest management methods that reduce pesticide use and increase the abundance and diversity of native insects on the farm. Through cultural practices, integrated pest management principles, conservation biocontrol, and organic alternatives we can transform pest management from reactive efforts reliant on pesticides to thoughtful techniques that create thriving farms buzzing with life.


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

Preventing Negative Impacts of Pesticides on Pollinators

Agronomy Technical Note No. 9: Preventing or Mitigating Potential Negative Impacts of Pesticides on Pollinators Using Integrated Pest Management and Other Conservation Practices. By Mace Vaughan, Giulio Ferruzzi, Joseph Bagdon, Eric Hesketh, and David Biddinger. This USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) manual provides NRCS state offices and IPM professionals with guidance on conservation strategies that can reduce the risk of pesticides to bees in farm landscapes (such as the establishment of pesticide buffer systems) Read more

Guidance to Protect Habitat from Pesticide Contamination

This guidance document was designed to help growers, land managers, and others safeguard pollinator habitat from harmful pesticide contamination. It includes information on selecting habitat sites, as well as ways to maintain clean habitat by limiting and carefully managing pesticide use. Read more ...

Beyond the Birds and the Bees

This report moves the spotlight from the risks neonicotinoids pose to bees to the impacts of neonicotinoids to invertebrates such as earthworms or lady beetles. The report provides a comprehensive review of published articles and pulls together the growing body of research that demonstrates risks from neonicotinoids to these beneficial insects. These risks occur particularly in agricultural systems, but are also found in urban and suburban ornamental landscapes. Read more ...

Neonicotinoids and Bees

How Neonicotinoids Can Kill Bees The science behind the role these insecticides play in harming bees. By Jennifer Hopwood, Aimee Code, Mace Vaughan, David Biddinger, Matthew Shepherd, Scott Hoffman Black, Eric Mader, and Celeste Mazzacano. Neonicotinoids are a group of insecticides used widely on farms and in urban landscapes. They are absorbed by plants and Read more …

Farming for Pest Management

Habitat for Predators and Parasites. Published by the Xerces Society in collaboration with the Integrated Plant Protection Center. Many insects and spiders, as well as bats and birds, eat crop pests and weeds. Providing food and shelter for these useful animals can help suppress unwelcome pest species.This brochure illustrates how farmers can attract and retain Read more …

Organic Pesticides

Many of the practices outlined here for protecting pollinators also can help to protect beneficial insects such as parasitoid wasps and flies; predaceous wasps, flies, and beetles; ambush and assassin bugs; lacewings; and others. The presence of these insects can further reduce pest pressure and the need for chemical treatments.

ARS USDA image gallery

Managing Pesticides to Protect Bees

Avoiding pesticide use is the best option for conserving pollinators. Most insecticides (and a handful of fungicides and herbicides) can kill bees directly or have sublethal effects that reduce the number of offspring a female bee can produce. When pesticides must be used, actions that reduce their drift (off-target movement) and maintain buffer zones between Read more …

Jumping spider eating prey by Bryan Reynolds

Conservation Biological Control

With the advent of chemical pesticides, the contributions of beneficial insects (those that prey upon or parasitize crop pests) were largely forgotten. However, pesticides alone have not solved the problem of crop pests. “Conservation Biological Control,” is a strategy that seeks to integrate beneficial insects back into crop systems for natural pest control. This strategy 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 …

How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Pesticides

When you have a pest problem that requires intervention, selecting the appropriate management tool can be a complex process. This detailed guide, produced jointly by the extension services of Oregon State University, Washington State University, and the University of Idaho, offers guidance on pesticide selection. Extensive tables list the toxicity to bees of dozens of chemicals and how long after application they remain hazardous to bees in the field. The guide is also available as an app for Android and iOS users. To download the document or access the app go to:


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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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