F.A.Q.

After an applicant has been certified for a full calendar year, they are required to renew by February 28th each year.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

The initial application fee is due once the application materials have been reviewed and approved. Certification is contingent upon payment of the fee.

You are welcome to preview the application form before submitting an application. Visit the Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA application pages to preview the application form.

Visit the Bee City Application and Bee Campus Application pages to learn more about the application process.

Affiliates pay an initial application fee and an annual renewal fee scaled to their population size for cities and student enrollment for campuses. Find fee amounts on the Bee City Application and Bee Campus Application pages.

Learn more about the benefits we are able to provide as a result of these fees on our benefits page

No. Bee City USA’s mission is to enhance habitat for all pollinators, with a focus on native species. Whether an affiliate chooses to participate in beekeeping activities is up to them, but Xerces encourages affiliates to focus primarily on the 3,600 species of bees native to the United States.

Native bees rarely sting people, in fact male bees aren’t able to sting at all and many native bees are too small to string humans. Most strings are from wasps which are often defensive of their nests.

Find a full list of benefits to your community and your committee on our benefits page. You can download a list of benefits from the Bee City USA application page and Bee Campus USA application page

Visit the commitments pages for Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA to learn more about the program commitments and role of the committee.

The committee should invite broad-based involvement. Every committee will be different, but should include individuals with experience and interests that will help the committee complete the commitments. Visit the Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA commitments pages to learn more about committee makeup. 

The committee is responsible for facilitating broad-based community involvement as they work to fulfill the commitments listed in the Resolution. This new or existing committee, managed by either the certified affiliate (i.e. City and/or County) or a non-profit organization, as outlined in the Bee City USA Resolution, should have a regular meeting schedule that is open to the public.

Bee City USA certification requires having a new or existing standing committee of some kind sanctioned by the applicant government. It may be managed by either the City and/or County or a non-profit organization as outlined in the Bee City USA Resolution.

Counties are welcome to apply to become Bee City USA affiliates. Our county affiliation includes the unincorporated county only. Incorporated municipalities within the county must apply separately. County affiliates are referred to as “Bee City USA – ___ County”.

No. Developing an integrated pest management plan during the first year of certification is a great way for the committee to become more conversant with IPM. The IPM plan should be submitted with your first renewal. The IPM plan is a living document that may be changed as needed in years to come. Resources and learning opportunities are provided to Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA affiliates to help them develop IPM plans.

Generally, Bee City USA applicants must be either an incorporated municipality or a county. When merited, exceptions may be made for communities that function much like municipalities, such as a military base. University and college campuses are welcome to apply to become Bee Campus USA affiliates.

Each Bee City USA affiliate commits to host at least one event each year to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators and to acknowledge the community’s Bee City USA affiliation. Events may be workshops on pollinators, planting pollinator gardens, presentations about pollinators, garden tours and guided pollinator walks, films about pollinators, pest management workshops, etc. Bee City USA encourages affiliates to take advantage of nationally or internationally designated days, weeks, or months to bring attention to pollinator conservation.

Application and renewal fees should be paid through the online member portal. Instructions are available for paying with a credit card or check. 

Fees collected as part of the application and renewal process are used to provide affiliates with resources and support. See a full list of benefits to your community and committee on our benefits page

The application and renewal fees by themselves do not provide sufficient funding for the Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA programs. As a result, the fees are pooled together with other funding, such as grants and donations, to support the work of the Xerces Society, including Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA.

Xerces does not provide an implementation plan, however we do provide resources to help affiliates complete each commitment. These resources include suggested plant lists by region, example IPM plans, and informational webinars. Affiliates receive access to an affiliate portal to support their work.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a long-term approach to maintaining healthy landscapes and facilities that minimizes risks to people and the environment by: emphasizing prevention first and seeking to eliminate the underlying causes of plant diseases, weeds, and insect problems rather than only attacking the symptoms (the pests); discouraging pests by altering habitat conditions, employing physical controls, and enhancing pests’ natural enemies; and avoiding routine use of pesticides. Pesticides may be used if other methods fail to keep pests at acceptable levels. Any applications must minimize unintended consequences, such as harm to people and pollinators. Learn more about integrated pest management.

Once certified, you will be given access to a variety of resources including example IPM plans.

Each Bee City USA applicant should have a city staff member from the city’s sponsoring department who serves as the liaison between the city and the Bee City USA committee. The liaison may or may not serve on the Bee City USA committee, but they facilitate communications between the city, the city staff and elected body, and the Bee City USA committee as needed.

Affiliates develop local native plant supplier lists because, simply put, native pollinators rely on native plants. Native pollinators coevolved with plants over millions of years, and now plants and pollinators are mutually dependent for each other’s survival. Non-native (“exotic”) plants dominate ornamental landscapes, largely because they tend to attract fewer unwanted insects. 

The horticulture industry has become adept at “improving on” native species to enhance their appearance or resistance to pests and diseases. This process often leads to a reduction in the quality of pollen and nectar, or loss of pollen and nectar altogether. While some exotic or hybridized species supply adequate nectar, native pollinators primarily rely on native plant species. Plant wholesalers and retailers tend to grow mostly exotics, hybrids, and named cultivars that may or may not provide the resources that native pollinators rely on. These plants are often treated with pesticides, many of which harm pollinators. 

By creating a native plant supplier list you help your community locate businesses where they can purchase native plants, promote and support your local plant suppliers, and ensure future supplies of locally native plants.

At the time of certification, new affiliates receive artwork for their Bee City USA street sign(s) and a customized affiliate logo, as well as instructions on other permitted uses of the Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA logos.

No. Developing a recommended native plant list and a list of regional suppliers for those plants during the first year of certification is a great way for the committee to learn more about native plants suitable for their landscapes. Affiliates should submit these lists with their first renewal.

The renewal fee is due by each February 28, after an affiliate has been certified for a full calendar year. The renewal fee should be paid in conjunction with submitting the annual renewal application. Renewal applications and fees are submitted through the online affiliate portal.

The Bee City USA Resolution template outlines all of the commitments required of affiliates. Each Bee City USA applicant must upload their draft Resolution with the exact language to be voted on by their community’s highest elected body to the member portal for approval to proceed prior to the vote. Once the city or county’s highest elected body votes to adopt the resolution, the city staff and community are bound by the terms of the Resolution. Find the resolution template and other application materials on the Bee City USA application page.

Once you are certified, Xerces provides artwork for your street sign. Affiliates work with local vendors to print signs.

Xerces does not automatically invoice for the initial application fee. The initial application fee scale is available on the Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA application pages. A W9 and generic invoice are available in the affiliate portal where you will complete the application. If a customized invoice is needed, please request one by emailing apply.beecity@xerces.org.

You are welcome to add a Bee City USA or Bee Campus USA page to an existing website or develop a separate website and/or social media pages. The requirement of posting your Bee City or Bee Campus information on a publicly accessible website is intended to make your pollinator conservation efforts transparent and broad-based, engaging the whole community. Your webpage should include, at minimum:

  • A copy of your adopted resolution (for city affiliates) and links to the national Bee City USA website.
  • Contact information for your committee, chair, and liaison (for city affiliates).
  • Annual reports from previous years (provided by Bee City USA).
  • Your recommended native plant species list, plant supplier list, and integrated pest management plan.
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