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Reducing Pesticide Use & Impacts

A small lady beetle climbs amidst flower stems, with a blurred yellow blossom in the background.
(Photo: Xerces Society / Jennifer Hopwood)

The vast majority of invertebrates serve vitally important roles in a healthy environment, including controlling pests, pollinating flowering plants, and providing food for other wildlife. Only a very small number of invertebrates are pests. Yet, the pesticides designed to control unwanted plants and animals rarely distinguish between beneficial invertebrates and those which cause harm. All too often pesticides cause unintended consequences and disrupt the natural systems that sustain us. But, because pesticides are valued for their toxicity to pests, the risks they pose are often accepted⁠—even when healthier, more sustainable options are available.

As part of the Xerces Society’s conservation efforts we strive to reduce reliance on pesticides by supporting the diverse systems that reduce pest problems. Xerces’ staff is sought after to translate complex science so that farmers, backyard gardeners, agency staff, and policy makers can make informed decisions about pesticide use and regulation. And by providing on-the-ground technical support we are increasing the adoption of ecologically sound pest management practices everywhere.
 

Reducing Pesticide Impacts in Your Landscape

Balance pest management with protecting pollinators, beneficial insects, and other important invertebrates and their habitat.

 

More to Explore

Conservation Biological Control

Integrate beneficial insects back into crop systems for natural pest control.

The Risks of Pesticides to Pollinators

Learn more about specific impacts on pollinators, and how to avoid them.

Xerces Model Policy to Protect Pollinators from Pesticides

You can make your community more pollinator-friendly!

Understanding Neonicotinoids

Take a deeper look at the negative impacts of these widely-used insecticides.

Protecting Pollinators In Your Garden

Learn more about how home gardeners can reduce or eliminate pesticide use to avoid impacts on pollinators.

Effective Mosquito Management

Careful planning and common-sense actions are the most effective and safest mosquito management techniques.

Pesticide Impacts & Alternatives on the Blog

The latest news about the Xerces Society's interdisciplinary pesticide work—including updates from the field, policy and advocacy work, new publications, conservation biological control, and more!

Midwestern waterways are alive with beneficial invertebrates, but these essential species are threatened by a wide variety of contaminants. Xerces has just released a fact sheet that explores how the ubiquitous use of seed treatments affects water quality throughout the Midwest, and the findings are sobering for our aquatic ecosystems.

Grasshoppers play a central role in rangeland ecosystems and food webs. Herbivory by grasshoppers speeds up the recycling of nutrients from plants, and they are a vital part of the diet of dozens of other rangeland animals. Aerial spraying campaigns to control grasshoppers have wide impacts on rangeland ecology. Xerces staff are working to reduce spraying and protect rangeland wildlife.

Farmers in New Hampshire face challenges with pest management, made worse for berry growers by the arrival of a non-native fruit fly. Xerces' Alina Harris is working with growers, agencies, and university extension staff to find solutions that minimize pesticide use.