Conservation Comes Home


To Protect Pollinators We Must Address All Risk Factors

Published on October 10, 2019

If we are to succeed in our efforts to bring back the pollinators, we cannot downplay any of the risks that bees face. While natural causes can lead to bumble bee deaths under Tilia trees, the role of highly toxic, long-lived systemic insecticides in current pollinator declines must also be considered and controlled.


Pollinator Habitat

Nature Close to Home

Published on September 18, 2019

Scott Black, executive director of the Xerces Society, writes: “By providing habitat for insects, we are helping the entire ecosystem. Our native bees pollinate the berries and fruit trees, and a wealth of insects provide food for birds and other animals. Eighty-eight percent of birds feed on insects at some point in their life cycle; without insects our yard would largely be devoid of birdsong… I encourage you to reimagine your garden: increase the diversity of native plants, ensure that there are places for insects to nest, and avoid using pesticides.”


A female harvester butterfly ovipositing by an aphid colony. Her body is arced, so that the back end of her body is touching the pale green vine she is perched on. There are many gray aphids on the vine near her.

Fun with Harvester Butterflies, Part Two

Published on August 21, 2019

Recently, photographer Bryan E. Reynolds earned a long-sought set of photos of the elusive harvester butterfly, North America’s only carnivorous butterfly.


Fireflies and star trails

Celebrate World Firefly Day by Keeping Nights Dark

Published on July 5, 2019

Fireflies are some of our most well-loved insects—yet their numbers appear to be dwindling. One likely driver for this decline is light pollution. Put simply, fireflies need dark nights. This is the theme of this year’s World Firefly Day; read on for information on how to support the conservation of these beloved beetles!


Xerces Society Pollinator Habitat Sign

Let’s Make Every Week Pollinator Week!

Published on June 23, 2019

Without a doubt, every week is Pollinator Week here at the Xerces Society. Our staff are consistently working with farmers, public land managers, suburban park managers, and gardeners, providing guidance on planning and creating habitat. Here are a variety of ways to support our efforts to conserve these vital invertebrates throughout the year—no matter where you live!


Remember the Ground Nesting Bees when You Make Your Patch of Land Pollinator-Friendly

Published on June 20, 2019

Seventy percent of native bee species in the United States are ground nesting. Providing nesting sites (they are drawn to sunny, bare soil) and reducing or eliminating pesticide use is key to supporting these important pollinators.


Managing Invertebrate-Friendly Gardens

Published on June 19, 2019

Many Xerces Society members create wildlife gardens that are particularly hospitable to invertebrates, and among them are some wonderful examples. I recently spoke with Bert and Betty Feingold, Lenora Larson, and Dennis Krusac and Jacqueline Belwood to find out more about how these dedicated gardeners care for insects in their own backyards.


Ashland, Oregon - Bee City USA

Bee City USA: Galvanizing Communities to Reverse Pollinator Decline

Published on June 17, 2019

It is imperative that we change our idea of a desirable landscape away from one of large green lawns treated with chemicals and bordered by predominantly exotic plants to one of a diversity of native plants free of pesticides. This effort takes place one person, one neighborhood, and one community at a time, and the most successful affiliates recognize that becoming a Bee City is not a short-term commitment.


Xerces Society Pollinator Habitat sign

Bring Back the Pollinators During National Pollinator Week

Published on

Celebrate Pollinator Week by committing to bring back the pollinators! Our Bring Back the Pollinators campaign is based on the fact that pollinators need only a few things, which anyone can provide in a remarkably small space: flowers from which to drink nectar and gather pollen, a place to lay eggs or build a nest, and freedom from pesticides.


Conservation Biological Control - Xerces Society

Reflecting on a Multi-Year Conservation Biological Control Project

Published on May 9, 2019

From 2015–2019, the Xerces Society brought a series of 61 day-long courses on conservation biological control to 49 states and 2,000 participants, with far-ranging results.


Long-horned bee

Bee City USA Mobilizes Communities to Support Imperiled Pollinators—Here’s How to Join

Published on April 26, 2019

Earth Week is an inspiring time, brimming with opportunities to make a difference in the days following Earth Day—and beyond. If you want to mobilize your city or county to make room for pollinators, then the Xerces Society’s initiative, Bee City USA, may have the formula you need. Bee City USA founder Phyllis Stiles explains how to get your community certified.


Garden Gloves & Weeds

Pesticide-Free Gardening Tips for Earth Week and Beyond

Published on April 23, 2019

In a home garden, the Xerces Society urges people to consider non-chemical pest management. To meet this challenge, please consider spending Earth Week in the garden, enjoying the diversity of insects, and taking a few of the actions outlined below to simultaneously minimize pest problems and avoid the use of pesticides.


Earth Week - Xerces Society

Pledge to Bring Back the Pollinators—on Earth Day and Every Day

Published on April 22, 2019

During Earth Week 2019, we are asking you to consider taking simple, yet impactful, steps to make the world better for bees, butterflies, and other essential invertebrates.


Baller Beneficials 2019 Champions

Baller Beneficials! The 2019 Xerces Society Division 1 Beneficial Insect Championship

Published on March 21, 2019

The 2019 Xerces Society Division 1 Beneficial Invertebrate Championship was a wild ride, with many upsets—and, of course, at the heart of it was the opportunity to learn about a wide array of fascinating creatures.


Where Do Pollinators Go in the Winter?

Published on December 10, 2018

As the leaves and temperatures drop, it might be tempting to forget about your pollinator garden until spring. But don’t call it quits just yet! While it may seem like the bees have vanished for the year, they haven’t actually gone anywhere.


Staff Stories: Life in the Suburbs

Published on February 1, 2018

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of Wings Magazine With their manicured lawns and neat houses, the suburbs may not seem like welcoming places for wild creatures. Given a chance, though, wildlife will find a way to coexist with people. Suburbs are often less densely developed than older urban centers, and such Read more …


Picking Plants for Pollinators: The Cultivar Conundrum

Published on November 21, 2017

A visitor to our Facebook page recently asked: “Do cultivars serve as host plants for beneficial insects? For example, does Rudbeckia ‘Goldstrum’? I know the preferred plant is native R. fulgida or hirta but the ‘Goldstrums’ are in all the nurseries and home gardens.” Unfortunately, not all cultivars are the same. Some are bred for Read more …


How to Host a Facebook Fundraiser

Published on November 14, 2017

As we reach the time of year where the spirit of giving is celebrated and we reflect on what’s most important to us, we’d be honored if you’d consider doing a fundraiser for Xerces. Such efforts not only help support the work we do, they build awareness about the importance of invertebrates and allow you to share your enthusiasm for improving the world for these animals.


Planning Your Plantings for Climate Resiliency

Published on November 10, 2017

It’s long been a primary tenet of gardening for pollinators to ensure you provide plants that bloom throughout the entire growing season. Not only is this just good gardening, ensuring your landscape is colorful from spring through fall, as the two examples that follow illustrate, it’s more essential than ever to ensure your garden is Read more …


Planting for Pollinators: Button Bush

Published on October 26, 2017

  This post is part of an ongoing series highlighting some of the best plants for pollinators from coast-to-coast. Drawing from our books 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Gardening for Butterflies , and our Monarch Nectar Plant Guides. Button Bush Cephalanthus occidentalis A popular cultivar of button bush is ‘Sputnik’ and when you see Read more …


Leave the Leaves!

Published on October 6, 2017

Besides providing the right plants, and protecting your garden from pesticides, one of the next most valuable things you can do to support pollinators and other invertebrates is to provide them with the winter cover they need in the the form of fall leaves and standing dead plant material. Frequently however, this is the hardest Read more …


Telluride Teen Takes Action Helping Pollinators

Published on September 13, 2017

Through our work, we have the honor of meeting amazing people doing incredible things in their own towns. These are the people who inspire us. We hope they will inspire you too. In Telluride, Colo., Soleil Gaylord has been growing and sharing seeds since grade school, initiated a habitat revegetation project, and more recently, organized Read more …


Harvesting Milkweed Seed: a Pod and a Plan

Published on September 7, 2017

As with comedy, harvesting milkweed seed is all about timing. Too soon and the seed will be immature and won’t germinate, too late and it will have either blown away or involve a flossy mess you’ll need to deal with before sowing. Here we’ll explore some methods of harvesting milkweed seed, separating the truth from Read more …


Striking Gold in Suburbia

Published on August 25, 2017

With a daughter who is active in lacrosse, I find myself spending a lot of time hanging around sports fields, whiling away hours as she practices. Recently at such a practice, I wandered the field edges of a suburban high school, looking for signs of insect life. We’d been to this school before and I’d Read more …


Plants for Pollinators: Blazingstar

Published on August 9, 2017

This post is part of a series highlighting some of the best plants for pollinators from coast-to-coast. Drawing from our books 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Gardening for Butterflies , and our Monarch Nectar Plant Guides. Blazingstar   Liatris spp. Blazing star species are butterfly magnets. When in bloom it’s not unusual to see clusters Read more …


Plants for Pollinators: Wild Senna

Published on August 2, 2017

This post is part of an ongoing series highlighting some of the best plants for pollinators from coast-to-coast. Drawing from our books 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Gardening for Butterflies , and our Monarch Nectar Plant Guides. Wild Senna Senna marilandica, Senna hebecarpa Wild senna is a large perennial with the distinctive foliage and Read more …


White-lined sphinx moth pollinating a thistle by night

To Protect Moths—Turn Out the Lights!

Published on July 27, 2017

Happy Moth Week! National Moth Week is the last full week in July and is a time to get outside—day or night—and appreciate these less-celebrated Lepidoptera species. In celebration of Moth Week we’re sharing the following excerpt from our book Gardening For Butterflies, which includes a chapter on moths and what you can do to attract and support them.


Gardening For Moths

Published on July 21, 2017

Few people take notice of moths, despite their close relationship with butterflies. Even fewer people intentionally create gardens for them. The muted colors of many species, along with the reputation of a tiny fraction of them as crop or wardrobe pests has done little to endear moths to the average gardener.  But the truth is that moths are a beautiful and interesting wildlife group that anyone can attract to a garden.


Plants for Pollinators: Figwort

Published on July 5, 2017

This post is part of an ongoing series highlighting some of the best plants for pollinators from coast-to-coast. Drawing from our books 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Gardening for Butterflies , and our Monarch Nectar Plant Guides. Figwort Scrophularia spp. The odds are pretty good that you’ve never encountered figwort, or if you have Read more …


Plants for Pollinators: Cup Plant

Published on June 28, 2017

This post is part of an ongoing series highlighting some of the best plants for pollinators from coast-to-coast. Drawing from our books 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Gardening for Butterflies , and our Monarch Nectar Plant Guides. Cup Plant, Compass Plant, Rosinweed Silhpium spp. Cup plant, compass plant, and rosin weed are common names Read more …


Plants for Pollinators: Beardtongue

Published on June 8, 2017

This post is part of an ongoing series highlighting some of the best plants for pollinators from coast-to-coast. Drawing from our books 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Gardening for Butterflies , and our Monarch Nectar Plant Guides. Beardtongue Penstemon spp. Beardtongue gets its name for the hairs that line the protruding lower petal of Read more …


Plants you can eat are a pollinator treat

Published on May 17, 2017

If you enjoy growing cucumbers, squash, melons, and other insect pollinated crops, you already know the necessity of having some pollinator pals around. Setting aside part of your vegetable garden specifically for pollinators provides direct benefits in the form of larger, more abundant, and better formed fruits and vegetables. But even fruits and vegetables that Read more …


Plants for Pollinators: Pearly Everlasting

Published on May 5, 2017

It’s National Wildflower Week! The first week in May is a time to celebrate our native wildflowers and the pollinators they support. This post is part of an ongoing series highlighting some of the best plants for pollinators from coast-to-coast. Drawing from our books 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Gardening for Butterflies , and Read more …


Plants for Pollinators: Tickseed

Published on May 3, 2017

It’s National Wildflower Week! The first week in May is a time to celebrate our native wildflowers and the pollinators they support. This post is part of an ongoing series highlighting some of the best plants for pollinators from coast-to-coast. Drawing from our books 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Gardening for Butterflies , and Read more …


Plants for Pollinators: Blanketflower

Published on May 2, 2017

It’s National Wildflower Week! The first week in May is a time to celebrate our native wildflowers and the pollinators they support. This post is part of an ongoing series highlighting some of the best plants for pollinators from coast-to-coast. Drawing from our books 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Gardening for Butterflies , and our Read more …


Week of Action: Watch a Film / Host a Screening

Published on April 25, 2017

Inspired by the #ScienceMarch, we’re posting a series of small actions you can take this week to further invertebrate conservation. They make you laugh, they make you cry – films provide valuable insights and inspiration. As a way of providing outreach on a subject you care about, screening a documentary can be a great entry Read more …


Every Species Needs A Voice: Speak Up!

Published on April 24, 2017

Inspired by the #ScienceMarch, we’re posting a series of small actions you can take this week to further invertebrate conservation. While you might be enamored with carpenter bees, spiders, and the American burying beetle – others might see these creatures as “pests” to be avoided, if they think of them at all. Bridging the gap Read more …


Staff Story: The Tickle Bees of Sabin Elementary

Published on April 10, 2017

In the summer of 2009, my family and I moved into a house across from the Sabin Elementary School in Northeast Portland, Oregon. Our daughter started kindergarten at the school that fall. As other school parents learned of my work in pollinator conservation, they would occasionally ask me if I’d ever seen the “tickle bees.” Read more …


Plants for Pollinators: Violets

Published on April 7, 2017

This post is part of a series highlighting some of the best plants for pollinators from coast-to-coast. Drawing from our books 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Gardening for Butterflies , and our Monarch Nectar Plant Guides. Common Blue Violet Viola sororia Violets are often bemoaned as “weeds” when found in lawns, and otherwise impugned for Read more …


Write Your Rep! Less Mowing, More Monarchs

Published on March 31, 2017

We’ve made the case that roadsides can be managed for pollinators, while maintaining erosion control, keeping roads safe, improving water quality, and saving money! Now it’s time to make the case to lawmakers, so that they can change the way their state manages roadsides for multiple benefits, including helping bees, butterflies, and other insects. We’ve Read more …


Bring Back the Pollinators: 5 Ways to Increase Nesting Habitat for Native Bees

Published on March 17, 2017

Recent research suggests that pollinators do better in urban environments, yet these mowed, mulched, and managed landscapes frequently lack a sufficient amount of nesting habitat needed to support large numbers of bees. As wild bees move off ag lands and head for the cities and suburbs, they may struggle to find their “dream home” amongst Read more …


Plants for Pollinators: Little Bluestem

Published on March 15, 2017

This post is part of a series highlighting some of the best plants for pollinators from coast-to-coast. Drawing from our books 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Gardening for Butterflies , and our Monarch Nectar Plant Guides. Little Bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium When most people plant a pollinator garden, they rarely think of native grasses, opting instead Read more …


Staff Stories: How I Stopped Worrying And Started Protecting Invertebrates

Published on March 10, 2017

Butterflies in their chrysalises and bumble bees in their burrows are waiting out winter—unaware of the activities of people as they wait to go about their business. They will mate. They will die. In the process, they will pollinate our foods and flowers. Freshwater mussels will keep our water clean, while spiders and beetles will Read more …


Plants for Pollinators: Pussy Willow

Published on March 1, 2017

This post is part of a series highlighting some of the best plants for pollinators from coast-to-coast. Drawing from our books 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Gardening for Butterflies , and our Monarch Nectar Plant Guides. Pussy Willow Salix discolor Pussy willow is much loved by florists and decorators eager to bring some of the natural Read more …


Picking Plants for Pollinators

Published on February 23, 2017

Since the publication of our book Attracting Native Pollinators in 2011, interest in pollinators and pollinator-friendly gardening has grown substantially. Through our Bring Back the Pollinators campaign and the release of two additional books, we’ve worked hard to put information and resources in the hands of eager citizens who are inspired to protect pollinators in Read more …


Plants for Pollinators: Wild Bergamot

Published on February 16, 2017

This post is part of a series highlighting some of the best plants for pollinators from coast-to-coast. Drawing from our books 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Gardening for Butterflies , and our Monarch Nectar Plant Guides. Wild Bergamot   Monarda fistulosa Wild bergamot is one of several plants also known by the common name of Read more …


Plants for Pollinators: Giant Hyssop

Published on February 11, 2017

This post is part of a series highlighting some of the best plants for pollinators from coast-to-coast. Drawing from our books 100 Plants to Feed the Bees, Gardening for Butterflies , and our Monarch Nectar Plant Guides. Giant Blue Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Members of the mint family tend to be highly attractive to bees, and Read more …


Planting for Pollinators – In Your Backyard and Beyond

Published on February 7, 2017

Loss of habitat is one of the biggest issues contributing to the decline of pollinators. With the loss of prairies, forests, and other natural areas to development and agricultural use, pollinators are having a harder time finding the resources they need. While a backyard butterfly garden will never be a substitute for acres of prairie, Read more …


Conservation Comes Home

Published on February 3, 2017

What you can do to defend invertebrates in your community If you are reading this, chances are you are aware of the many challenges facing invertebrates. Pollinators everywhere are suffering from loss of habitat and widespread use of pesticides. Monarchs have seen record population declines in recent years. Seven species of Hawaiian yellow faced bees Read more …