The diversity and abundance of native bees on a farm, and subsequently their ability to serve as crop pollinators, are strongly influenced by two factors: suitable habitat on the farm and in the surrounding landscape, and pesticide use on the farm. The basic habitat needs of native pollinators in any location are the same – nesting or egg-laying sites, flowers on which to forage, secure overwintering sites, and a refuge from pesticides. We engage in education, outreach, research, advocacy and policy to achieve pollinator conservation across North America.

Fully Belly Farm in CA by Mace Vaughan

How to Farm for Pollinators

Farming for Bees

Guidelines for Providing Native Bee Habitat on Farms By Mace Vaughan,Jennifer Hopwood, Eric Lee-Mӓder, Matthew Shepherd, Claire Kremen, Anne Stine and Scott Hoffman Black Farming for Bees outlines ways to protect and enhance habitat for native crop pollinators in the farm landscape. Containing a wealth of information about common groups of native bees, their habitat Read more …

Learning How to Farm for Bees

Watch Xerces’ staff in these videos on how to farm for pollinators, and learn about the important role they can play in crop production. Native Bee Conservation 101 Mace Vaughan, Conservation Director of the Xerces Society, gave a lecture on Native Bee Conservation 101 to the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) on May 10, 2007 Read more …

Know the Habitat on your Farm

In order to farm for crop pollinators, it is important to know the habitat on your farm. Native bees need both food and shelter-they eat only pollen and nectar and they nest in tunnels or in the ground. In the process of gathering pollen and nectar resources, bees move pollen from one flower to another, Read more …

Enhancing Habitat for Bees

There are simple and inexpensive things you can do to increase the number of native bees living on your land. Any work you do on behalf of pollinators will support other beneficial insects and wildlife. Below, you will find information on providing additional sources of food and shelter for native bees, additional practices you can Read more …

Pollinator Habitat Installation Guides

  Growing the right flowers, shrubs, and trees with overlapping bloom times is the single most effective course of action to support pollinators from spring through fall. Establishing Pollinator Meadows from Seed These guidelines provide instructions for establishing small pollinator meadows. Read more. Organic Site Preparation for Wildflower Establishment These guidelines provide instructions for preparing Read more …

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 …

NRCS Gateway

The USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) provide financial and technical assistance to support conservation efforts for pollinators and other wildlife on farms. Conservation programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Grasslands Reserve Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, Conservation Stewardship Program, and Conservation Reserve Program all provide support for farmers Read more …

Integrated Crop Pollination

Facing the decline of some bee populations, specialty-crop farmers are looking for new ways to ensure adequate pollination and profitable yields. Integrated Crop Pollination (ICP) is a concept that combines the use of managed pollinators (such as honey bees and mason bees) with the restoration of habitat for wild pollinators, and the adoption of farm practices that reduce negative impacts on bees. 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 …


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Email us with your questions and comments about pollinator conservation.

Learn About Your Landscape:
Take Action!
Sign the Pledge!

Sign the pledge and take action to help protect pollinators and their essential habitats! Learn more.

Pollinator Conservation Resource Center

The Resource Center is where you can find regional information about plant lists, habitat conservation guides, and more. Learn more.

Pollinator Conservation Seed Mixes

Our partners in the native seed industry are offering specially designed, Xerces-approved wildflower seed mixes. Learn more.

Plant Milkweed Seed!

Milkweeds support monarch butterflies, native bees, honey bees, and other beneficial insects. Search for sources of milkweed seed now!

long horned bee (Melissodes sp.) on sunflower and Fully Belly Farm by Mace Vaughan.