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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!

Over the past decade, Xerces has worked with thousands of farmers and land managers to build over a million acres of habitat. Each of these projects, no matter how small, is meaningful and important to us. Our staff spend hours on the details, fine-tuning the mix of plants to suit the local conditions and support as many species as possible, determining how the site will be prepared and installed, and finding ways to protect the resulting habitat from pesticides. Last week, I shared a review of the latest research on how agricultural pesticides may impact nearby pollinator habitat. Today, I’ll talk about how we apply this research to our work at Xerces.

Recently, we have been wrestling with questions about the costs and benefits to pollinators of installing habitat in areas that are likely to be occasionally or continuously exposed to pesticides. In this two-part blog, we’ll first dive into recent field studies on pesticide contamination of pollinator food and shelter in agricultural landscapes. This type of applied research helps to inform our conservation efforts.

There is a lot to celebrate in New Mexico during Pollinator Week, literally: it is home to some of the greatest diversity of bees and butterflies in the United States. New Mexico hosts about 40% of all butterfly species and a quarter of all of the bee species found in the US (approximately 300 and 1,000 species, respectively). Emily Ruth Spindler shares how Xerces' work is expanding to protect the state's priceless invertebrate biodiversity.