Resources – Insects

Book Reviews

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Good Bugs for your GardenGood Bugs for Your Garden

by Allison Mia Starcher

This cute little illustrated book is a gentle introduction to the concept of inviting beneficial insects into your garden. Sandwiched between an enlightening introduction and a short glossary are pages dedicated to variety of useful critters. A wonderful book for someone new to the concept of encouraging - rather than trying eliminate – insects, no matter where you live.

Insects of the Los Angeles BasinInsects of the Los Angeles Basin

by Charles L. Hogue

“What is that thing?!?” That’s a question we often ask ourselves as we discover yet another new insect residing in our garden. This is the most comprehensive insect book available for Southern California gardeners, well-organized and indexed with a healthy number of photos. Produced by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Insects and GardensInsects and Gardens: In Pursuit of a Garden Ecology

by Eric Grissell

Professional entomologist and amateur gardener Eric Grissell offers a very readable introduction to insect biology and the role of insects in garden ecology, accompanied by wonderful photographs by Carll Goodpasture. Recommended for gardeners who are not entomologists! Available in both hardcover and paperback, this book will open your eyes to how insects and plants interact in your own backyard.

Polinator Conservation HandbookPublications from the Xerces Society

The Xerces Society publishes wonderful books such as Butterfly Gardening: Creating Summer Magic in Your Garden (in conjunction with The Smithsonian Institute) and Pollinator Conservation Handbook: A Guide to Understanding, Protecting, and Providing Habitat for Native Pollinator Insects (in conjunction with The Bee Works). The latter provides guidelines “for creating and improving habitat for insect pollinators, including selecting and planting forage flowers, providing nesting and egg-laying sites, and caring for pollinator habitat over time.” The writing style if very accessible for any gardener fascinated with bumblebees (known around our garden as “bombies”).

Online Resources

If you’re interested in providing habitat for butterflies and bees, then spend some time exploring the Xerces Society’s website. The Gardening for Pollinator Insects is a good starting point, and you can then download some of the free Fact Sheets & Guidelines which include a list of the best California native plants to attract bees, creating nesting sites for solitary bees, and more.

Urban Bee Gardens: A great resource to help you create a bee-friendly garden; includes a list of plants that bees love to buzz.

Las Pilitas Nursery has an online list of Californica native plants that attracts bumblebees and other native bees.

“Bumble Bees and Cuckoo Bumble Bees of California” is the title of an 87-page downloadable PDF (7MB) for hardy Bombus fans.

Yerba Buena Nursery has posted a Record of Native Bees found in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area Region.

Download a list of 27 California insect surveys/pamphlets from 19

50-1985 (some others are in PDF form also).

A Resource Guide to Flower Pollination (by a flower shop)


There are organizations devoted to insects beyond butterflies, such as the Lorquin Entomological Society who hold regular meetings at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. Their website was stale last time we checked, but they do send newsletters to members regarding their meetings and potlucks. Download a sample newsletter (January 2006).

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