Beneficials
Reprinted with Permission

A Review of Research into the Effects of Neonicotinoid Insecticides on Bees, with Recommendations for Action.

By Jennifer Hopwood, Mace Vaughan, Matthew Shepherd, David Biddinger, Eric Mader, Scott Hoffman Black, and Celeste Mazzacano.

A possible link between neonicotinoids and honey bee die-offs has led to controversy across the United States and Europe. Beekeepers and environmentalists have expressed growing concern about the impact of neonicotinoids, concern based on the fact that neonicotinoids are absorbed into plant tissue and can be present in pollen and nectar, making them toxic to pollinators. Continue reading

by Judy Beaudette

Few strategies for keeping our environment healthy are as interesting, simple and fun as raising mason bees, tiny insects that are gaining popularity with gardeners and farmers alike. What’s more, encouraging wild mason bees to your slice of earth – no matter how small or urban – could help counter negative effects of declining honey bee colonies. Continue reading

by Karen Lyness LeBlanc

Native bees are not receiving the attention honeybees have been given recently, but they are also experiencing a significant population decline. In places where there is significant natural habitat, native bees may provide all of the pollination needed for some crops. So maintaining habitat for native bees has economic, as well as ecological benefits. Continue reading

by Sharon Stichter

Constructed landscapes can provide excellent habitat for many butterflies and other beneficial insects. For butterflies, a complete habitat includes both nectar sources for the adults and larval host plants for the next generation. There are many good sources of information about which plants to use. What is not generally known is that many of our butterfly species here in the northeast and elsewhere have adapted to using non-native and sometimes even invasive plants. In some cases the butterflies no longer use their original native host or nectar plant because it is not easily available or because it is in fact a less robust food source. Continue reading

Guidelines for Creating and Managing Habitat for America’s Declining Pollinators

This excerpt is reproduced, with permission, from Conserving Bumble Bees: Guidelines for Creating and Managing Habitat for America’s Declining Pollinators, published by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Portland, OR. For more information or to obtain a copy of the guidelines, please visit http://www.xerces.org/bumblebees/guidelines/.

by Rich Hatfield, Sarina Jepsen, Eric Mader, Scott Hoffman Black, and Matthew Shepherd

The use of insecticides and herbicides is detrimental to a healthy community of pollinators. Insecticides by design kill insects, and herbicides reduce floral diversity. Although pesticide use on crops and rangelands is often the primary concern, they are also widely used on natural areas to control invasive species and on recreation sites and gardens. Indeed, the greatest pesticide use (measured as pounds of active ingredient applied per acre) takes place in urban and suburban landscapes. Homeowners have access to a wide array of pesticides with little regulation of their use, and few opportunities for education about the effects of these chemicals. Continue reading

by Maureen Sundberg

Summer evenings in many parts of New England are missing something this year – the swoop of a bat over yards at dusk. Though some might rejoice at a local reduction in the bat population, particularly if the population resides in one’s attic, the loss of millions of bats since 2006 comes with a price tag. Reduced numbers of these incredibly efficient insect predators leaves growers with one fewer ecological tools for natural pest control. Continue reading