Did your childhood include swallowtail and monarch butterflies fluttering through your neighborhood? Caterpillars chewing backyard leaves? Warm summer nights with fireflies blinking in the bushes? The song of bush crickets lulling you to sleep?

Sadly these magical experiences are becoming less and less common. We’re losing their natural wonders as insects are increasingly disappearing throughout the world.

Monarch butterfly

Iconic monarch butterflies have plummeted by 80 percent in the past 20 years. We're working hard to protect them.
Please help us save monarch butterflies now.


Insects are incredible. It’s impossible to overstate their importance in keeping ecosystems and humans healthy and functioning. They’re the base of many food webs — supporting birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and fish. They cycle nutrients, aerate soil, and help pollinate more than 80% of the world’s flowering plants. [7] So if you like fruits and veggies, you have insects to thank for these tasty, nutritious and vital foods. Insects are also key players in recycling dung and dead organisms. [15, 1] If they were to vanish, life would be grim indeed.

And insects are declining across the globe. Their extinction crisis jump-started in the mid-20th century and has dramatically worsened over the past few decades. Today an estimated 41% of insect species are declining and could be at risk of extinction — twice as many insects are at risk of extinction as vertebrates. [16] Factors driving their declines include habitat destruction, pesticides, invasive species and climate change. [16]


Through our Saving the Insects campaign, the Center fights to save insects from extinction by combining science and creative activism with environmental laws and policy.

We fight to get insects the protection they need under the Endangered Species Act. We combat pesticide use by taking on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the pesticide industry for allowing and promoting the heavy use of deadly poisons. We challenge projects that harm insect species and their habitats. We work to eliminate illegal trade. We help craft and push local, state and federal policies that limit the use of especially toxic pesticides, and we promote better practices to protect insects. We write reports — for the public and policymakers — on their status and the threats they face.

Check out the links below (and in the sidebar) for highlights of our Saving the Insects campaign and learn how you can help us protect our planet’s six-legged mini-superheroes.

Native Bees

Tiger Beetles


Ladybird Beetles



Banner photo of Mojave poppy bee by Zach Portman/Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota