Help to protect invertebrates by making a year-end donation today!
In June, people across America were stunned by the mass death of over 50,000 bumble bees in the parking lot of a suburban shopping center outside of Portland, Oregon. The cause? An insecticide, one available in any garden store, had been carelessly applied to more than fifty blooming linden trees lining the lot. This heartbreaking incident was the largest of its kind ever documented.
Xerces Society scientists hurried to Wilsonville to investigate the event and collect samples. We urged the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) to test the samples and they confirmed that the kill was caused by dinotefuran, a neonicotinoid insecticide. Because neonicotinoids remain active in plants for weeks, Xerces worked with partners to wrap the trees in netting to prevent more bees from visiting the still-lethal flowers, likely saing thousands of additional bees. Also, as a direct result of our actions, the ODA has banned dinotefuran and another neonicotinoid, imidacloprid, from use on linden and basswood trees.
Xerces is an effective national and international voice for science-based conservation advocacy and we need your immediate involvement to expand this work (donate now!).
Unfortunately, this pesticide use is not an isolated incident. In the U.S. alone, millions of pounds of insecticides are used on farms, backyards, and even natural areas each year. We are pleased to announce that with the support of members and private foundations we have hired a full-time pesticide program coordinator to help Xerces combat unnecessary pesticide use. This person will be active on a range of issues relating to insecticides, including:
- Campaigning to reduce the use of pesticides for mosquito management in wetlands
- Building partnerships with farmers and city managers to develop alternatives to pesticide use
- Engaging the public in spreading the word about problems caused by insecticides
- Working at state and federal levels to advocate for better approaches to insecticide registration
We have substantial momentum on these issues, but we need your help to fully realize our vision. Please consider making a year-end donation today to fund our important conservation programs (donate now!).
I am so grateful for your support. Bumblebees, dragonflies, and butterflies are not the most charismatic creatures, but they are some of the most important and they need to be protected. Working together we can achieve the change needed to protect these valuable animals, and continue to make progress toward a healthier world. Thank you for rallying behind these efforts.
Banner Photo: Leonas little blue is an imperiled butterfly that lives only in a few square miles of desert, by Sarina Jepsen.