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Pollinator Conservation Resources: Northeast Region

Two large bees with a pale yellow, fuzzy front end and a smoother, black rear collect nectar and pollen on pink, daisy-like flowers.
(Photo: Xerces Society / Eric Venturini)

Welcome to our Pollinator Conservation Resources for the Northeast Region! Here you'll find region-specific collections of publications, native seed vendors, and other resources to aid in planning, establishing, restoring, and maintaining pollinator habitat—as well as materials to help you learn about the species of invertebrates and native plants you might encounter.

For more resources, see our Publications Library or learn about our Pollinator Conservation Program.

Click to return to the Pollinator Conservation Resource Center home page.

 

Habitat Assessment

 

Beneficial Insects: Farms and Agricultural Landscapes

This Xerces Society beneficial insect habitat assessment guide is designed for a single site on a farm or agricultural landscape.

 

Habitat Assessment Guide for Pollinators in Yards, Gardens, and Parks

The goal of this Xerces Society tool is to evaluate pollinator habitat at a given site, and identify areas for improvement. This process will also help you prioritize the most essential next steps to take for pollinators at the site.

 

Natural Areas and Rangelands

This Xerces Society pollinator habitat assessment guide is designed for natural areas and rangelands.

 

Pollinator Habitat Management Log

This form was designed to monitor wildflower diversity and longevity on a single site over time when used in conjunction with Maintaining Diverse Stands of Wildflowers Planted for Pollinators.

 

Pollinator Habitat Evaluation Form:

This form was designed to monitor wildflower diversity and longevity on a single site over time when used in conjunction with Maintaining Diverse Stands of Wildflowers Planted for Pollinators.

 

Pollinator Habitat Monitoring Form

This form was designed to monitor wildflower diversity and longevity on a single site over time when used in conjunction with Maintaining Diverse Stands of Wildflowers Planted for Pollinators.

 

Pollinators: Farms and Agricultural Landscapes

This Xerces Society pollinator habitat assessment guide is designed for a single site on a farm or agricultural landscape.

 

Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Habitat Assessment Form & Guide for Natural Areas on Private/Public Lands

This Xerces Society rusty patched bumble bee habitat assessment guide is designed for natural areas on public and private lands.

 

Streamlined Bee Monitoring Protocol for Assessing Pollinator Habitat:

Developed the University of California, Davis; Rutgers University; Michigan State University; and The Xerces Society, this guide provides instructions for assessing pollinator habitat quality and diversity by monitoring native bees. It was developed for conservationists, farmers, land managers, and restoration professionals to document how native bee communities change through time in pollinator habitats. It includes an introduction to bee identification, a detailed monitoring protocol, and data sheets for different habitat types.

 

Habitat Installation

 

Xerces Society Pollinator Habitat Installation Guides:

These Xerces Society regional guidelines provide in-depth practical guidance on how to install nectar and pollen habitat for bees in the form of wildflower meadow plantings or linear rows of native flowering shrubs.

 

Pollinator Habitat Installation Planning Form:

This form was designed to monitor wildflower diversity and longevity on a single site over time when used in conjunction with Maintaining Diverse Stands of Wildflowers Planted for Pollinators.

 

New England Pollinator Habitat Installation Guide: Conservation Cover (Draft).

 

Plant Lists

 

Monarch Butterfly Nectar Plant Lists For Conservation Plantings:

This Xerces Society publication is a helpful tool for ecological restoration, providing lists of plants known to support monarch adults and caterpillars.

 

Pollinator Plants: Northeast Region:

This Xerces Society fact sheet lists recommended native plants that are highly attractive to pollinators such as native bees, honey bees, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds, and are well-suited for small-scale plantings in gardens, on business and school campuses, in urban greenspaces, and in farm field borders.

 

Monarch Nectar Plants: Northeast:

This regional list of monarch nectar plants is geared toward gardeners, landscape designers, and land managers who are implementing small- to large-scale monarch restoration projects in the New England states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, as well as eastern New York. Created by the Xerces Society.

 

Monarch Nectar Plant Guides:

While native milkweed is critical to support of monarch breeding, these regional guides were created to address a need for evidence-based, monarch-specific nectar plants throughout the U.S. These guides were developed by the Xerces Society in partnership with the Monarch Joint Venture and National Wildlife Federation and are geared toward gardeners and landscape designers but are also be useful for land managers who are implementing large-scale monarch restoration projects.

 

Regional Milkweed Guides:

A series of regional guides to the native milkweeds of North America, developed by the Xerces Society in cooperation with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

 

Native Plant Profiles and Lists

The Xerces Society has collaborated with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to create plant lists that are attractive to native bees, bumble bees, honey bees, and other beneficial insects, as well as plant lists with value as nesting materials for native bees. These lists can be narrowed down with additional criteria such as state, soil moisture, bloom time, and sunlight requirements.

 

Pollinator-Friendly Plants for the Northeast United States

An in-depth guide to pollinator-friendly plants of the Northeast United States, created by the USDA-NRCS.

 

Milkweed Seed Finder:

This Xerces Society directory lists vendors of native milkweeds, searchable by region and species.

 

Habitat Management

 

Maintaining Diverse Stands of Wildflowers Planted for Pollinators:

High quality pollinator meadows sometimes experience a decline in wildflower diversity or abundance as they age. This Xerces Society guide provides recommendations on how to bring declining meadows back into a high quality condition.

 

Wild Pollinators of Eastern Apple Orchards (Second Edition)

Produced by Cornell University, Penn State University, The Xerces Society, Northeastern IPM Center, USDA Department of Agriculture, and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This book includes a photo guide to bees most important to apple production in the East, steps to conserving wild bee populations, plant recommendations to enhance habitat, summary of bee toxicities for commonly used orchard pesticides, and links to additional information.

 

New England Pollinator Biology and Habitat: An in-depth guide to bee conservation in New England, created by the USDA-NRCS. The document includes an overview of native bee and honey bee biology, farm management practices that impact pollinators, a color photo guide to common bee genera, and list of regionally appropriate plants for habitat restoration efforts on pages 25-38.

 

Field Conservation Management of Native Leafcutting and Mason Osmia Bees

This document by the University of Maine Extension Service includes information on the natural history of tunnel nesting native bees and how to enhance forage resources and improve nesting sites.

 

Wild Bee Conservation for Wild Blueberry Fields:

This document by the University of Maine Extension Service covers native bee biology and habitat needs. Includes a brief list of important supplemental flower species, and a table of agricultural chemicals that negatively affect bees.

 

Conservation and Management of Native Bees in Cranberry:

A comprehensive overview of native bees visiting cranberry bogs in Maine, from the University of Maine Extension Service. This document includes a list of wildflowers visited by the various described bee species.

 

Wild Blueberry Network Information Centre

The Wild Blueberry Network Information Centre project began in June 1997 to provide scientific and technical information about wild blueberry production and marketing for producers, agricultural professionals, researchers and students, and has kept expanding since!

 

Pesticide Protection

These resources provide valuable information that is applicable throughout the United States and Canada. Newest documents are listed first.

 

IPI Database

The IPI database contains summaries of research articles on pesticides, their effects on invertebrates, and pesticide movement in the environment. Articles have been reviewed and summarized to highlight key findings by Xerces Society staff.

 

Supporting Ecologically Sound Mosquito Management: Protecting Pollinators from Pesticides

This Xerces Society fact sheet provides a brief overview of mosquito management methods that protect both people and pollinators, plus two case studies in effective mosquito management.

 

Smarter Pest Management: Pollinator Protection for Cities and Campuses:

This Xerces Society fact sheet introduces to city and campus land managers the concept of integrated pest management (IPM), a system that emphasizes prevention first and seeks to eliminate the underlying causes of plant diseases, weeds, and insect problems rather than relying on routine use of pesticides.

 

Organic Pesticides: Minimizing Risks to Pollinators and Beneficial Insects:

These Xerces Society guidelines provide a brief overview of how to select and apply pesticides for organic farm operations while minimizing pollinator mortality. 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.

 

Common Organic-Allowed Pesticides: A Comparative Overview:

Intended as a companion document to Organic Pesticides: Minimizing Risks to Pollinators and Beneficial Insects, this fact sheet is intended to be a quick reference to help you select and use organically-approved pesticides with the least impact on bees and other beneficial insects.

 

Smarter Pest Management: Protecting Pollinators at Home:

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 Xerces Society guide will help you with the last item, managing yard pests in a pollinator-friendly way.

 

Protecting Pollinators from Pesticides: Fungicide Impacts on Pollinators

From large farms to small backyard gardens, many people use fungicides to control plant pathogens. While insecticides have long been recognized as a threat to bees and other beneficial insects, fungicides have generally been assumed to be relatively harmless. 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 Xerces Society fact sheet delves into how these impacts on pollinators occur, and offers mitigation measures and alternative pest management strategies.

 

Potential Risks of Releasing Native Lady Beetles

Releasing lady beetles for biological control may seem beneficial, however this practice harms native lady beetles at collection sites, may harm local populations at release sites, and has been shown to not be effective at helping control local pest species.

 

Neonicotinoids in Your Garden

This article from the Fall 2012 issue of the Xerces Society's biannual publication, Wings Magazine: Essays on Invertebrate Conservation, explores the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides in gardens.

 

How Neonicotinoids Can Kill Bees: The Science Behind the Role These Insecticides Play in Harming Bees:

In this Xerces Society report, we present an overview of research that clearly documents neonicotinoid impacts on bees. The report also covers what can be inferred from existing research, and identifies knowledge gaps that will need to be filled to allow for better-informed decisions about the future use and regulation of these chemicals.

 

Beyond the Birds and the Bees: Effects of Neonicotinoid Insecticides on Agriculturally Important Beneficial Insects

This Xerces Society report details potential negative impacts of neonicotinoid insecticides on important beneficial insects. It also makes recommendations on how we can better protect important beneficials like beetles and wasps.

 

How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Pesticides

This detailed guide, produced jointly by the extension services of Oregon State University, Washington State University, and the University of Idaho, offers guidance on how to select and apply insecticides. Extensive tables list the toxicity to bees of dozens of chemicals and how long after application they remain hazardous to bees in the field.

 

Ecologically Sound Mosquito Management in Wetlands

This Xerces Society report reviews current mosquito control practices in the United States, describes risks and benefits associated with different types of mosquito control—including direct and indirect impacts of chemical and biological controls on nontarget organisms—and provides recommendations on how to develop effective practices to manage mosquito populations while reducing pesticide use and conserving wetlands.

 

Insects and Roadless Forests: A Scientific Review of Causes, Consequences, and Management Alternatives

This report outlines key aspects of bark beetle outbreaks, their relationship to fire risk, and presents alternatives to large scale logging practices. Additionally, it suggests that government efforts to stem the infestation of insects in forests across the American West may be ineffective and are unlikely to mitigate future infestation or decrease wildfire risk.

 

Logging to Control Insects: The Science and Myths Behind Managing Forest Insect “Pests"

This 88-page report demonstrates that industrial logging is not the solution to combating outbreaks of bark beetles or defoliators, such as tussock moth or spruce budworm. This includes a review of relevant studies on the importance of insects to forest function and the effectiveness of methods used to control forest “pest” insects, and a compilation of summaries of over 150 scientific papers and Forest Service documents.

 

Managing Milkweed Crop Pests: A Native Seed Industry Guide

Increasing the availability of milkweeds is critical to monarch conservation, but seed production can be difficult. While monarchs are the most well-known milkweed specialists, other specialist milkweed-feeding insects can cause damage to valuable milkweed crops. Our guide provides management strategies for dealing with common milkweed pests including aphids, milkweed bugs, and milkweed beetles.

 

How to Help Your Community Create an Effective Mosquito Management Plan

This guide will help you learn more about mosquitoes and the diverse wetland communities in which they play an important part, and give you the resources and information you need to work for the adoption of safe, effective methods of mosquito management in the places where you live and play.

 

Estimated Costs to Establish Wildflower Plantings Using Chemical Fallow

This Xerces Society fact sheet provides a quick overview of the estimated costs of establishing wildflower habitat for pollinators on conventional farms.

 

Protecting Bees from 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. This Xerces Society 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.

 

Farming with Native Beneficial Insects: Ecological Pest Control Solutions

Lady beetles, syrphid flies, lacewings, and other beneficial insects prey upon crop pests, reducing or eliminating the need for pesticides. This comprehensive Xerces Society guide describes how to recognize these insects and their habitat, and how to evaluate, design, and improve habitat for them.

 

Guidance to Protect Habitat from Pesticide Contamination: Creating and Maintaining Healthy Pollinator Habitat

This Xerces Society 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.

 

Recommendations for Designing State Pollinator Protection Plans

In these recommendations, the Xerces Society seeks to share information about native pollinators and their needs in order for state plans to address the diverse concerns that managed and native pollinators face. Specific regional information to support plan development is available through the Xerces Society website and other resources.

 

Wings 38(2): Fall 2015 (Rethinking Pesticides)

Our Fall 2015 issue of Wings Magazine: Essays on Invertebrate Conservation is devoted to the subject of pesticides, their impact on invertebrates, and consideration of alternative in controlling insect "pests."

 

Preventing or Mitigating Potential Negative Impacts of Pesticides on Pollinators Using Integrated Pest Management and Other Conservation Practices:

Agronomy Technical Note No. 9.

 

Wings 35(2): Fall 2012 (Happy Birthday, Silent Spring)

Our Fall 2012 issue of Wings Magazine looks back at the impact of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and includes articles on fireflies, dragonflies and damselflies, neonicotinoids, and more.

 

 

Identification & Monitoring Resources

 

Bumble Bees of the Eastern United States:

This US Forest Service guide provides information to identify 21 bumble bee species found east of the Mississippi River.

 

Pennsylvania Citizen Scientist Bee Monitoring Guide:

An instructional handbook for native bee survey efforts, used by the Penn State Master Gardener Program. The handbook assists users in identifying native bees to broad morphological categories for assessing general pollinator abundance and diversity. Developed by Penn State in collaboration with the Xerces Society, this guide is useful in identifying broad groups of bees throughout the Northeastern United States.

 

Pennsylvania Citizen Scientist Bee Monitoring Pocket Guide:

A pocket-sized printable field version of the taxonomic native bee groups described the Penn-State Citizen Scientist Bee Monitoring Guide.

 

Yellow-Banded Bumble Bee Pocket Identification Guide

A full color print-and-fold guide to the yellow-banded bumble bee (Bombus terricola), a formerly common species believed to be in decline. Includes images of similar looking species.

 

Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Pocket Identification Guide:

A full color print-and-fold guide to the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis), a formerly common species believed to be in decline. Includes images of similar looking species.

 

Great Pollinator Project

The Great Pollinator Project (formerly NYC Bee Watchers) engages public participants with bee surveying efforts in New York City. Project goals are to 1) identify which areas of New York City have good pollination services (as determined by how quickly bees show up to pollinate flowers at various locations throughout the city); 2) increase understanding of bee distribution; 3) raise public awareness of native bees; and 4) improve park management and home gardening practices to benefit native bees.

 

Maine Bumble Bee Atlas

In order to document the diversity, distribution and abundance of bumble bees in Maine, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife has initiated the Maine Bumble Bee Atlas project. Designed as a multi-year statewide survey, the project is being coordinated by MDIFW in partnership with the University of Maine at Orono and Farmington. 

 

Native Seed & Plant Vendors

The Xerces Society works with leading wildflower seed producers in multiple regions of the U.S. to develop custom native seed mixes that feature the best pollen and nectar plants available. Local ecotype, source-identified seed that is not treated with pesticides is used wherever possible. Large volume mixes are available at wholesale pricing to help offset the costs of native plant restoration.

 

American Native Plants, Quakertown, PA:

American Native Nursery offers wholesale pricing on open-pollinated, 100% ecotyped native plugs and liners; foundation seed can be wild-collected from Massachusetts to Tennessee.

 

Earth Tones Native Plant Nursery and Landscapes, Woodbury, CT:

Earth Tones provides live perennials, grasses, ferns, trees and shrubs native to New England. They do not ship plants out of the region.

 

Ernst Conservation Seed, Meadville, PA:

Offers Xerces-reviewed seed mixes for pollinator conservation projects. 

Ernst sells a diversity of eastern ecotype native wildflower and grass seeds, as well as planting material of trees and shrubs.

 

Fiddlehead Creek Native Plant Nursery, Hartford, NY:

Fiddlehead offers plantings of herbaceous perennials, grasses, groundcovers, and shrubs native to New York. Fieldstone Gardens, Inc., Vassalboro, ME: This nursery sells on-site or ships container vines and perennials native to New England.

 

Found Well Farm, Pembroke, NH:

Found Well Farm is a retail nursery that provides live perennials, trees and shrubs native to New Hampshire.

 

Maine Wild Seed Project, Bluehill, ME:

A non-profit organization that specializes in Maine native plants and offers wild-type seed of woodland, meadow and wetland species.

 

Native Haunts, Alfred, ME:

Native Haunts specializes in seeds and live plants of trees, shrubs, and perennials including ferns and sedges that are native to Maine and New England.

 

Native Landscapes & Garden Center, Pawling, NY:

Native Landscapes is a retail garden center that sells (on-site only) garden varieties of native perennials, shrubs, and trees native to New England.

 

New England Wetland Plants, Inc., Amherst, MA:

NEWP, Inc. is a native plant nursery that specializes in moisture loving native plants and also offers a variety of seed mixes. Wholesale only.

 

Pan's Acres Nursery LLC, Canterbury, CT:

Pan's Acres offers native New England perennials and trees and shrubs, available by mail-order or for pick-up.

 

Pinelands Nursery, Columbus, NJ:

Pinelands Nursery is a wholesale supplier of native trees, shrubs and herbaceous species in the Northeast, carrying both plants and seeds.

 

Project Native, Housatonic, MA:

A non-profit organization that cultivates and sells (on-site only) Berkshire native perennial plants, shrubs, vines, grasses and also offers seed mixes.

 

River Berry Farm, Fairfax, VT:

River Berry Farm, a family-owned organic small fruit and vegetable farm, also sells native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees.

 

That’s a Plenty Farm, Hadley, MA:

That's a Plenty Farm, a small family-owned permaculture farm, sells bulk quantities of various milkweed (Asclepias spp.) seed varieties, as well as packets of native seeds for pollinator gardeners.

 

Toadshade Wildflower Farm, Frenchtown, NJ:

Toadshade provides nursery propagated perennial wildflowers native to the Northeastern US.

 

Turtle Tree Seed, Copake, NY:

Turtle Tree Seed is the oldest biodynamic seed company in the United States, with 288 varieties of vegetables, grains, herbs, flowers and ornamentals.

 

 

Northeastern Native Seed Mix:

Produced by Ernst Conservation Seeds, this mix includes high quality native perennial wildflowers that are highly attractive to pollinators, and appropriate for habitat restoration in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, northern New York, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Also included is a native bunch grass that provides nesting habitat for bumble bee and other beneficial insects.

 

Further Reading

 

Coming soon!