Bee City USA August 2019 E-News
This crafty morning-glory prominent moth caterpillar is well camouflaged to avoid detection by birds feeding their hungry chicks! Photo: Phyllis Stiles / Xerces Society
Bee City USA-Durham, NC is discouraging homeowners from having their yards sprayed for mosquitoes. Photo: Alexis Luckey / Toxic Free NC
By Peter Helfrich, Chairperson, Bee City USA - Decatur, GA (Beecatur)

As the chairperson of Decatur’s Bee City USA committee, I’m frequently asked if backyard mosquito spraying harms bees and other beneficial species. Unfortunately, the answer is yes. The pesticides most mosquito spraying companies use are non-targeted and also kill bees, butterflies, moths, ladybugs, dragonflies, and lightning bugs. In run-off, these pesticides can also be highly toxic to fish and other aquatic life.

Backyard Mosquito Control Services On the Rise
Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of backyard mosquito control services operating here in Decatur and throughout Georgia. In fact, there are now more licensed mosquito control providers in our state (690) than McDonald’s restaurants (453)! Most backyard mosquito barrier treatments consist of a broad-spectrum insecticide, usually a pyrethroid. Pyrethroids are synthetic versions of pyrethrin, a toxin found in Chrysanthemum flowers. Thus, mosquito control companies will often market their services with words like “derived from flowers,” “organic,” "green," “environmentally friendly,” “biodegradable,” or “natural.” Pyrethroids are in fact chemical nerve agents.
Photo: Matthew Shepherd / Xerces Society
By Phyllis Stiles, Bee City USA Founder & Pollinator Champion, Xerces Society

Pollinator-friendly garden programs, like Xerces' own  Bring Back the Pollinators Pledge, map, and garden sign  and the  Million Pollinator Garden Challenge , are growing (no pun intended!). 

As I started writing this blog, three pedestrians stopped to read my pollinator habitat sign nestled in my front yard flower bed. So I left my computer to greet them and tell them about how we need insects and pollinators to feed birds and other creatures and to help nearly 90% of flowering trees and plants reproduce. That's why we welcome pollinators into our yard by planting a variety of locally native plants and not using pesticides. They were delighted to hear from the gardener and, in turn, shared stories about their own yard and community.
Xerces staff literally criss-cross the country making presentations about pollinator conservation. Here is a sampling of some occurring in August and September. Check Xerces' Events page for frequent updates.

August 17th, 2019, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Join us for this full-day training lead by Katie Lamke, Jennifer Hopwood, and Rae Powers of the Xerces Society, to learn about bumble bees, their conservation status, and how to participate in the  Nebraska Bumble Bee Atlas . This training is provided for anyone who has a curiosity for bumble bees and flowers, and an interest in contributing to an important citizen science project to provide a better understanding of the status of native bumble bees in Nebraska. Please join this project and help collect critical information on local bumble bees. With your help, we can create an army of trained volunteers equipped with cameras and vials, and collect bumble bee data throughout our region. Click here  for more information and to register.

August 17th, 2019, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Join Nancy Adamson, Senior Pollinator Conservation Specialist with the Xerces Society, along with Guilford County Master Gardeners and Beekeepers, and a host of other groups for a fun-filled day. There will be activities for kids, food for everyone, and lots of learning about native bees, honey bees, butterflies, and many other pollinators and plants. Find live monarch caterpillars on the common milkweed, and black swallowtail butterfly caterpillars on the fennel, parsley, and dill in the garden! Learn how to make a native Bee&Bee! Click here  for more information.

August 20th, 2019, 4:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Join Xerces Society Ambassadors for Twilight Tuesday at the Oregon Zoo, where we’ll show you the bees in your backyard and neighborhood, the importance of pollination, and what you can do to help! Click here  for more information.

August 22nd, 2019, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

Join Phyllis Stiles, Bee City USA Founder & Pollinator Champion with the Xerces Society, to learn about the plant and pollinator love affair that supports the reproduction of nearly ninety percent of the world’s flowering plant species. Responsible for 1 in 3 bites we eat, hundreds of thousands of species of bees, butterflies, bats, beetles, wasps, moths, birds, and flies have co-evolved with plants for their mutual benefit. Stiles will explain why they are declining and how each of us can help reverse those trends. Click here  for more information.

September 21st, 2019, 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Join Phyllis Stiles, Bee City USA Founder and Pollinator Champion with the Xerces Society, and Nancy Adamson, Senior Pollinator Conservation Specialist with the Xerces Society, along with about 30,000 bug-loving friends for a Raleigh tradition! Phyllis and Nancy will host a kid-friendly table about pollinators. North Carolina’s Museum of Natural Sciences hosts over 100 exhibits, crafts, games and activities. Meet entomologists and other scientists and learn about the fascinating world of bugs. You can visit Café Insecta to sample buggy dishes prepared by local chefs. Free and everyone is welcome! Click here  for more information.

September 21st, 2019, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Join Angela Laws, Monarch and Pollinator Ecologist with the Xerces Society, at this symposium that will feature keynote speaker Douglas Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, and Bart O’Brien, Director of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden and the co-author of Reimagining the California Lawn. Angela will give a talk on declining insect biodiversity and climate change. Click here  for more information and to register.
August 17 in National Honeybee Day and September is National Honey Month --both great opportunities to thank our hard working honey bee friends for making the world a little sweeter and pollinating about 75% of crops.

Aside from tropical stingless honey bees, only seven of the world's 20,000 species of bees are honey bees.

Photo: Robin Stickney
The best part of the Bee City USA network is that we are teaching and learning from one another how to mobilize our communities for pollinator conservation. Check the current Bee City and Bee Campus pages to see the most up-to-date lists of our 171 affiliates in 39 states.

Welcome to the most recent affiliates to join our network:

  • Lynchburg, Virginia
  • Belmont, NC
  • Moorestown Township, NJ
  • Florence, SC
  • Allentown Borough, NJ
  • East Carolina University (Greenville, NC)
  • University of California Davis (Davis, CA)
Bee City USA is an initiative of the Xerces Society. Our conservation work is powered by our donors. Your  tax deductible donation  will help us to protect the life that sustains us.
Bee City USA, An Initiative of the Xerces Society | 503-395-5367| |