Pesticides


A blueberry carton with the Bee Better Certified seal is pictured

Arriving in Stores: Bee Better Certified Blueberries

Published on July 11, 2019

In partnership with AC Foods and Oregon Tilth, we’re pleased to announce the arrival of California Giant brand Bee Better Certified organic blueberries. Sourced from farms near Independence, Oregon and arriving soon at a variety of grocery stores, these berries represent tremendous dedication and conservation ethic by the farms that produced them.


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!


Monarch - Xerces Society

Working to Conserve Monarchs from Coast to Coast

Published on June 21, 2019

The migration of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus plexippus) is an awe-inspiring sight that heralds the changing seasons across much of North America. Sadly, these inspiring migrations have experienced significant declines in the past few decades. The Xerces Society is working across the U.S. to conserve this beloved species, and there are a number of ways you can help!


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.


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.


Flowering clover in almond orchard

Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – April 2019

Published on April 30, 2019

April’s featured staff are all Farm Bill Pollinator Conservation Planners, and are spread across the country—driving the adoption of cover cropping in California, guiding blueberry farmers to become more pollinator-friendly in Maine, and raising awareness of the importance of rangeland for pollinator conservation in North Dakota.


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.


Bee Better Certified pollinator habitat at Erdman Family Farms

Bee Better Certified Engages the Almond Industry

Published on April 22, 2019

With a robust set of requirements on pesticide use and the highest standards for protecting and restoring pollinator habitat of any food certification, Bee Better Certified represents a new era in biodiversity protection on farms—and what better time to celebrate this program’s growth than during Earth Week?


Earth Week - Xerces Society

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

Published on

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.


Bee Better Certified: An Evolving Standard

Published on March 22, 2019

After a year and a half of Bee Better Certified, we have analyzed how the standards work for the many operations that are already implementing them, and have adjusted our requirements accordingly.


Monarch overwintering in California

Record Low Number of Overwintering Monarch Butterflies in California—They Need Your Help!

Published on January 17, 2019

We urge you to join us and our colleagues in the western monarch science and conservation community in taking meaningful, swift action to help save western monarchs.


Long horned bee on plains coreopsis

Pollinators and the 2018 Farm Bill 

Published on January 10, 2019

Although we did not get everything we wanted in the 2018 Farm Bill, the very good news is that pollinators are still a priority for the USDA and the Natural Resource Conservation Service—and formal commitments to support conservation efforts are now in effect for at least the next five years.


Prairie wildflowers

Pollinator Conservation Program Digest – December 2018

Published on December 17, 2018

December’s featured staff hail from Iowa and Minnesota, and have been making significant impacts in their respective states by educating farmers and other members of the public, helping to restore and build new habitat, and pushing for policies that support pollinators and other beneficial insects.


Willapa Bay Oyster Beds

Pesticide Program Update: Bee City USA, Treated Seeds, and Protecting Washington’s Waters

Published on November 13, 2018

The Pesticide Team’s efforts are varied, diverse, and plentiful, and thus it is difficult to summarize their work in one blog post! Nevertheless, here are select highlights from the summer and fall.


Rachel Carson

Celebrating the Legacy of Rachel Carson

Published on September 27, 2018

The environmental complexities Rachel Carson illuminated in Silent Spring are only part of her far-reaching impact. Her raw determination, even in the face of severe illness, and her propensity for breaking barriers, provide a compelling example for environmentalists. May we all continue the fight for the well-being of invertebrates, ecosystems, and our world.


Bumble Bee Die-Off Under Investigation in Virginia

Published on June 21, 2018

Pollinator week is set at an ideal time in mid-June. People around the country are enjoying the profusion of pollinators visiting the flowering plants in and around their neighborhoods. Unfortunately, bee kill incidents have marred what should be a week of celebration. Here in my own state of Oregon, between 2013 – 2015, there were Read more …


Scientists Urge Action to Protect Waters from Neonicotinoid Insecticides

Published on March 13, 2018

Will California’s regulators take steps to curtail neonicotinoid water pollution? If they take the advice of scientists, they will. Today, a group of 56 scientists that includes many prominent researchers studying the effects of neonicotinoids sent a letter to California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) highlighting the threat neonicotinoids pose to the health of California’s Read more …


How Our Gardening Choices Affect the Health of Our Waterways

Published on February 22, 2018

This article originally appeared in our Fall 2017 issue of Wings Magazine “Why do you have so many animals in your yard?” Curious who was speaking, I looked up from weeding to see a small boy standing on the sidewalk watching bumble bees collect pollen from the California poppies. I smiled and replied, “I created Read more …


California halts consideration of new uses of neonicotinoids in the state

Published on January 8, 2018

California has just taken a positive step for pollinators, aquatic organisms and all of us that rely on these important invertebrates. This week the California Department of Pesticide Regulation announced that, effective immediately, DPR will not consider applications for any new uses of a class of neonicotinoid insecticides which includes imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin and dinotefuran Read more …


Post-Brexit Britain Grapples with the EU Moratorium on Neonicotinoids

Published on September 28, 2017

This article, written by Dave Goulson, originally appeared in our Spring 2017 issue of Wings Magazine. In 2013, the European Commission acted to protect bees by restricting the use of three neonicotinoid insecticides within the twenty-eight countries of the European Union. This wasn’t a complete ban on their use—it covered seed treatments only of certain Read more …


Protecting Pollinators One Community at a Time

Published on June 22, 2017

Pollinator week provides a time for us all to reflect on how we can help restore the amazing and diverse pollinator species so inextricably linked to our survival. While the task of bringing back the pollinators can seem daunting, if we focus on our own communities, we really can make a difference. We’ve provided ideas Read more …


ARS USDA image gallery

Expanding Our Understanding of Pesticide Impacts on Invertebrates

Published on April 28, 2017

In an effort to keep up with the constantly expanding information available about pesticides and their impacts on pollinators and other invertebrates, the Xerces Society created the Impacts of Pesticides on Invertebrates database (pesticideimpacts.org). The database is a collection of summaries of recent research articles; it does not include the articles themselves, but does provide Read more …


New Report: How Neonicotinoids Can Kill Bees

Published on December 14, 2016

The plight of pollinators has grabbed the public’s attention, helped by media stories of parasites, pesticide poisonings, and deserts of urban and agricultural lands where little to no forage can be found. Most experts agree that the startling declines of native bee and butterfly populations, as well as the high annual losses of managed honey Read more …


Curbing mosquito-borne illness requires strategic approach

Published on June 27, 2016

This year’s warm, wet spring seems to have brought with it more mosquitoes. With West Nile virus in Oregon and Zika slowly moving north, we have a window of opportunity to establish sound practices to manage the growing threat of mosquito-borne diseases. To wait invites an ill-conceived response that causes more harm than good. Though Read more …


Responding to Zika virus

Published on February 25, 2016

As a parent it is heart-wrenching to see the photos of children in Brazil that have been born with microcephaly, and it is very worrying to consider that the steep rise in this birth defect may be caused by a mosquito-borne disease. The cause of these birth defects is not fully understood but they are Read more …


Research Update: Are bee diseases linked to pesticides?

Published on February 16, 2016

The issue of pesticide impacts on bees is of key interest to many people. In time, we’ll also be gathering this information onto a page on our web site. The recently published article, Are bee diseases linked to pesticides?—A brief review (Sanchez-Bayo et al. 2016), infused valuable insights into the discussion about pollinator decline. The Read more …


Rethinking Pesticides

Published on November 24, 2015

This post was originally published in the fall 2015 issue of Wings. Essays on Invertebrate Conservation, the Xerces Society’s membership magazine. Pesticides have been used to control insects for millennia. We know that the ancient Romans burned sulfur to kill insect pests; centuries later, in the 1600s, people were using a mixture of honey and Read more …


Study Finds High Levels of Pesticides in Wild Bees Foraging in Farmland

Published on November 18, 2015

For bees living in and around farmland, pesticides are a daily hazard. The risk is widely recognized and much effort has been put into assessing the impacts on honey bees, the workhorse of much crop pollination. However, there has been very little research into the impact of pesticides on the thousands of species of native Read more …