Spring 2023 update

We know many of you have been wondering why we no longer have a butterfly house. The short answer is that we have some exciting new jobs outside our work with NV Bugs, that butterfly declines have made it harder to run a butterfly house, and that we have been concentrating our Nevada Bugs & Butterflies time on documenting rare butterflies in Nevada (you can read more about this in our previous blog post).


Butterfly declines in Nevada make it harder to run a native butterfly house

Even since the first year of our Butterfly House in 2013 we have experienced a decline in the number of butterflies we see. The most well-documented decline has been in the western monarch population- millions of monarchs could be found at their overwintering sites in the 1980’s but less than 5% of that number overwinters today (more info here and here). This has led many scientists and monarch experts to suggest it is no longer prudent to collect wild monarchs and raise them in captivity. If you visited our butterfly house in the past, you know that monarchs were a very important part of the experience! As we are out looking for butterflies in the summer we certainly notice other species that were once more common are harder to find now. Recent research done in part at UNR by our mentor and collaborator, Matt Forister suggests there is a 1.6% yearly cumulative decline in western butterfly abundance. This means that every single season there are on average 1.6% fewer butterflies seen by community scientists compared to the year before. As Matt says, it doesn’t sound like a lot, but imagine if every year your bank account was decreasing by 1.6%!

Because we are committed to protecting the amazing diversity found in Nevada, we are hesitant to collect our breeding butterflies from the wild at this time. We are still hopeful it is possible to responsibly run a native butterfly house in Northern Nevada in the future.

Kevin and Cynthia at Rye Patch State Recreation Area

Our new jobs with bugs!

On a more personal note, both Kevin and Cynthia have exciting new jobs- jobs that were not available back when we were running our science center and butterfly house. Kevin is now working for the Xerces Society as a conservation biologist studying western butterfly declines and working with partners to protect our most at-risk species. Cynthia is still the Education and Collections Coordinator for the UNR Museum of Natural History, and recently she has been able to take on more insect curation duties at the museum, in addition to her science outreach work. As you may know, the museum holds all of the University’s plant and animal collections, including valuable insect collections from across the Americas. Curating these collections- organizing them, updating scientific names, and preventing pest infestations- takes a significant amount of time, and it is important work to maintain these collections for researchers and museum visitors. You can schedule a free visit to the UNR Museum of Natural History on their website.

2022 Nevada Bugs Programming

Hi everyone,

We hope you are all enjoying this wonderful early spring weather and feeling healthy and happy. We wanted to take a minute and update you on what we’ve been doing during the pandemic, and what we are up to for 2022.

While we have not had many public events since 2020, we have still been doing work to support the insects of Nevada. We have been lucky enough to complete butterfly surveys for the Nevada Division of Natural Heritage, updating the status of endemic butterfly taxa across the state. We are excited to be doing what we consider very important work to help understand what effects development, climate change, and other stressors are having on our state’s imperiled butterfly populations. In 2019 and 2020 we were in the White Mountains of Esmeralda County, and in 2021 we visited many locations throughout most of northwest Nevada.

We will be continuing these surveys in 2022, and so are not taking on classroom outreach events through at least this summer. We have a planned training for our Nevada Butterfly Monitoring Network in May, so you can look here for updates on that coming soon. If you have questions about other events or about our survey efforts, please email us at info[at]nevadabugs[dot]org. Thank you very much and we hope to see you out in the field this summer!

Ruddy copper butterfly, Trail Canyon, White Mountains, Esmeralda County, Nevada

2020 Summer Bug Activities!

To our wonderful Nevada community-

Even though we can’t be together in person to share in the excitement of summertime insect activity, we at Nevada Bugs & Butterflies are doing our best to provide opportunities for you and your family to explore Nevada’s amazing biodiversity. We have two new at-home programs appropriate for kids and adults- our summer activity packet and our iNaturalist Summer Nature Challenge.

First,  our summer activity packet has a whole set of activities for children ages 6-12 and can be downloaded here to be printed out. It was lovingly designed by our Nevada Bugs board members and staff.

Our iNaturalist Summer Nature Challenge is an online program that kids and adults can participate in using their smart devices. For those unfamiliar, the iNaturalist app is a fun way to explore nature, learn about your local plant and animal species, and contribute to citizen science. See how many Nevada bugs, butterflies, and other plant and animal species can you discover between June and September 2020!

Here’s how it works:
1. Download the free iNaturalist app from wherever you download your apps, or go to the iNaturalist website (you can contribute photos you’ve downloaded onto your computer from there).
2. Get outside!
3. Take pictures of all the bugs, butterflies, plants, and animals that you find using iNaturalits.
4. Add your observations to the project: Nevada Bugs & Butterflies Summer Nature Challenge 2020
5. Share your pics on social media using the hashtag #myNVbugs so we can see what you’re seeing!
Get out there and EXPLORE! #nvbugsandbutterflies #myNVbugs #summerchallenge2020 #getoutside #inaturalist #citizenscience #communityscience

iNaturalist photo challenge instructions

iNaturalist is a great way to contribute photos of your local insects, other animals and plants all year round

Winter Sale starting November 24

Update: Our winter sale has closed! Thank you to everyone who ordered!


Nevada Bugs & Butterflies is having a winter sale! You can now purchase from a selection of items that are handmade by our board members, staff, and dedicated volunteers. We currently have two different native bee houses, Nevada bee tea towels, and a selection of 15 Nevada bee ornaments. All items are limited quantity, so order today! All proceeds go directly to Nevada Bugs & Butterflies, supporting our educational programs throughout the year. You can learn more and see them all on our winter sale website.

Nevada shaped native bee house

Tea towel with our Nevada Bee motif

2018 Science Center update

After five successful years at our Lemmon Valley site, the Nevada Bugs and Butterflies Science Center and Butterfly house will be temporarily closed this summer as we work to find a larger, permanent home. While we are sad not to welcome everyone to the butterfly this summer, we look forward to welcoming you to a new future site, where we will bring visitors a renewed sense of place, connection with our natural resources, and a new love for insects for many years to come. Read more below:

To all our supporters,

Believe it or not, it has been over five years since Nevada Bugs & Butterflies opened our seasonal science center and butterfly house in Lemmon Valley. We were lucky enough to partner with Neil Bertrando and his wife Katie, who kindly opened their property to us for our summer programs. Since 2012 we have grown from just over 200 visitors in our first season to over 2,000 visitors in each of our last two summers. We have met thousands of families and hosted many school groups, giving them the chance to interact with our state’s amazing native plants and animals and learn about native insect biology, ecology, and conservation. Along with all our visitors, we’ve also gotten to see Neil’s garden grow from small seedlings fresh in the soil to a diverse landscape of native plants and food crops, with elderberry shrubs well over 10 feet tall and seaberry trees bursting with bright orange fruits.

Our initial agreement with Neil and Katie was always a five-year agreement —  a chance to get our feet on the ground. As you might imagine, our growth in popularity over the last five years has also put its own strain on the site, and we have not been able to expand our programming as much as we would like. Knowing all of this, our organization has been in the planning stages of expanding to a new location for some time, and we are working to find a new, permanent site for our science center, butterfly house, and other summer programs. The pull of managing the science center and butterfly house each season is strong, and often keeps us too busy to devote the time to this much-needed development. In order to dedicate the energy and time needed to find a home we can grow into, we will not be opening our science center and butterfly house this season.

This doesn’t mean Nevada Bugs & Butterflies won’t be around this summer! We have a number of activities already planned, and lots more in the works. Here is a list of just some of our upcoming 2018 events:

  • April 28 and May 6: Nevada Butterfly Monitoring Network Trainings. This program contributes long-term butterfly monitoring data to a national database. We’re in our third year and are looking to expand our sites and volunteer base.
  • May 3, May 10 and May 17: We are partnering with the Fish & Wildlife Service and UNR’s  Museum of Natural History for a series of pollinator talks at the Great Basin Taps & Tanks location in the evening.
  • May 5, 10:00-4:00: Our annual National Pollinator Week event, which  is combined with the University of Nevada’s Day at the Museum.
  • May 11: We’ll be joining the Spring Wings Festival in Fallon, at E.C. Best Elementary from 3:30-5:30.
  • May 20: As part of River Month with Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful, we will be doing a bug walk at the Oxbow Nature Center from 1-3pm.
  • We’ll be at a variety of public events like Celebrate Washoe Valley at Washoe Valley State Park on May 19th, 10:00-2:00.

There are other events still being planned, such as an event for National Moth Week and a series of other insect identification walks. Please check back on our website and facebook pages for more updates.

We know many of you will be disappointed about not having the butterfly house this summer- it is certainly bittersweet for all of us as well. But we are extremely excited to begin this next phase in our organization’s growth, and we hope you are too. We’ll be sending out updates as we continue this process, and we will need your help to make our effort successful. We’ll be sending out surveys for your ideas and suggestions  and we can’t wait to see what our future home has to offer to the northern Nevada community. We hope to see you at some of our events this summer and that your 2018 is filled with bugs and butterflies!

–Kevin, Cynthia, and the NBB Board of Directors

Thank you for an amazing 2017 season!

Fall is in the air, and as the season winds down for the insects, the board and staff of Nevada Bugs would just like to say THANK YOU for another amazing season, both at our science center and butterfly house and at our numerous outreach events in the northern Nevada area. As always, we continue to meet new families and reach new groups, and we are so grateful for the chance to teach our community about the value of our region’s native plants and animals. In addition to that, we raised $3,500 at our recent 5th Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser. So again, to our visitors, supporters, and insect lovers, we say thank you!

Of course, 2017 isn’t done yet- our director Kevin Burls will be speaking at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute on November 8th, at the Galena Creek Visitor Center on November 12th, and we hope to see you at one of those events. And as always, feel free to contact us with any questions for program requests!

Bombus vosesenskii

Yellow-faced bumble bee (Bumbus vosnesenskii) on Rocky Mountain bee plant at the butterfly house, 2017


5th Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser


This summer marks five years since we opened our butterfly house and science center and began insect-focused science education outreach and programming in our community. We couldn’t have done it without your support and participation, so please join us as we celebrate this milestone on Sunday, August 20th, at the Western Heritage Interpretive Center in Bartley Ranch Regional Park, from 2pm to 5pm. There will be something for everybody, with homebrew beer tasting, live music by Strictly Business, a silent auction with great items donated by our supporters and Reno businesses, activity stations for kids to make art and build bee houses, five minute science talks, and, of course, the bugs!

We want to acknowledge all the businesses who have donated items to the silent auction for our 5th Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser:


We really appreciate these businesses for supporting our work, and can’t wait for you to see the great items that will be in the silent auction!

As we pass this important milestone, we are also turning our thoughts to the next five years. We are currently in the process of planning an expansion for the butterfly house and science center, and we continue to grow our outreach and internship programs every year. This 5th Anniversary Celebration will help us raise funds for our programming in the coming years. Admission is free but there will be opportunities to donate, buy Nevada Bugs & Butterflies t-shirts, and bid on items in the silent auction.

You can also keep up to date about the event on our facebook page.

Hope to see you there!

Kevin, Cynthia and the NV Bugs Board of Directors

Butterfly House closed on Saturday, July 1st

Hi everyone- Just a quick reminder that the butterfly house and science center will be closed on Saturday, July 1st in celebration of the July 4th holiday. Have a great weekend everyone and we will see you the following week. We’ll be open every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10-3 starting up again on July 6th.

Image may contain: plant, flower, nature and outdoor

Opening day 2017!

We are so excited for the 2017 season of our science center and butterfly house to begin! We are putting in the finishing touches for the various activities, and the garden is looking better than ever. As usual, we will be open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10am-3pm (except Saturday, July 1), and will close on Sept 9.

We also just wanted to remind our visitors that there is a detour due to the 2016 winter flooding in Lemmon Valley. Lemmon Drive is closed at Military Rd., and the best route takes Military Rd. and then goes around the west side of the valley.

Google and Apple Maps do not have adequate detour instructions at this time, so please follow the directions below when heading to our site this summer. If you need help finding us during our open hours, feel free to call us at 775-200-8774. We can’t wait to see everyone out there this summer!

Directions from Reno:

  • Take US-395 N to exit 74, then right on Lemmon Dr. for 0.9 mile.
  • Turn left on Military Dr. for 2.5 miles.
  • In quick succession, turn right on Echo Ave., left on Mt. Limbo St., and right on Bravo Ave./Albert Way. Total about 1 mile.
  • Turn left on Ramsey Way for 0.7 miles.
  • Turn right on Lemmon Dr. for 0.4 mile.
  • Turn left on Oregon Blvd for 1 mile.
  • Turn right on Fir Dr. for 0.9 miles. Park on Fir Dr. or by the big red workshop on Matterhorn Blvd. Please do not park on Matterhorn Blvd.
Map of detour directions for 2017

Map of detour directions for 2017

Nevada Bee Identification Guide

We are excited to be able to publish our Nevada Bee Identification Guide! This handy 2-page reference can help you tell apart several of the most common types of native bees in our state, as well as how to tell bees from flies and wasps. Please feel free to download the pdf file using the link below; we also have copies available at our public outreach events and at the science center in the summer. This guide was created in partnership with graduate students at the University of Nevada, Reno, the university’s Museum of Natural History, Nevada Fish and Wildlife, and the Pollinator Partnership.

PDF File: Nevada Bee Guide

Nevada Bee Guide small sizeNevada Bee Guide small size page 2