Support Pollinator Conservation by Reducing or Eliminating Pesticide Use in Your Community

Xerces resources outline key steps to reduce or eliminate pesticide use throughout your community.

By Sharon Selvaggio, Pesticide Program Specialist, Xerces Society, and Sarah Hoyle, Pesticide Program Specialist, Xerces Society

Across the country, energized community members are partnering with parks, campuses, neighbors, and more to plant flowers and save bees. Creating habitat is vital to reversing pollinator declines, and it’s highly compatible with many public spaces. At Xerces, we applaud the efforts of these dedicated pollinator advocates.

Just as important as providing flowers is making the commitment to protect pollinators from pesticides—including rethinking the routine applications of insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides to lawns, flowering trees, and ornamental beds. Avoiding routine applications and basing pest management strategies in prevention are part of an overall approach called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Affiliates of Xerces’ Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA programs commit to create and adopt an IPM plan to reduce negative impacts of pesticides in their communities. Community IPM strategies have been pioneered in cities like San Francisco and Boulder, and successfully adopted by numerous other cities across the United States, even those that haven’t caught the pollinator bug yet. In some cases, cities and towns have turned to IPM to improve water quality or reduce the risk pesticides can pose to children. Indeed, there are many benefits to eliminating the underlying causes of plant diseases, weeds, and insect problems, rather than turning to pesticides.

Just as important as providing flowers is making the commitment to protect pollinators from pesticides. (Photo: Nevin Cullen)

Xerces has a variety of resources to help guide communities as they work to reduce or eliminate pesticide use. Our webinars offer a great opportunity to learn more. Our next pesticide-focused webinar for communities is on Tuesday, February 23rd from 10-11am Pacific: Community Solutions to Reduce Pesticide Use. Hear from panelists around the country about the creative ways that their communities have approached pesticide reduction, including a city IPM policy, outreach on residential mosquito spraying, and galvanizing around state-level pesticide legislation. If you can’t tune in live or would like to see other Xerces presentations, check out our archive of past pesticide webinars on YouTube.

Beyond our webinars, we also have a number of fact sheets that can guide your community towards more sustainable pest management approaches. Smarter Pest Management: Pollinator Protection for Cities and Campuses outlines key steps to reduce or eliminate pesticide use in community spaces. Its companion, Smarter Pest Management: Protecting Pollinators at Home, focuses on making our homes and yards safe for pollinators.

While you are protecting and creating habitat for pollinators, it is important to ensure that any nursery plants you purchase are free from harmful pesticides. Buying Bee-Safe Plants includes tips about how to source plants and talk with your nursery about their pest management practices.

Communities often have mosquito management programs in place, which may or may not be protective of pollinators and other wildlife. You can learn more about effective mosquito management strategies for your community in our fact sheet, Supporting Ecologically Sound Mosquito Management.

Check out all of our resources to learn more—and don’t forget to share them with those who manage and maintain land in your community!

Further Reading

Learn more about the Xerces Society’s work to reduce pesticide use and impacts.

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