It’s Pollinator Week, which means it’s time to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what you can do to protect them.
The Honey Bee Health Coalitionis working this week (and year-round!) to achieve a healthy population of honey bees as well as other native and managed pollinators in the context of productive agricultural systems.
Read on for more about the Coalition’s recent work in our three focus areas – crop pest management, forage and nutrition, and hive management – and follow us on Twitter and Facebook this week as we post about the importance of pollinators and promote collaborative solutions to help them.
Crop Pest Management
In March, the National Corn Growers Association and the U.S. Canola Association released best management practices (BMPs) to help corn and canola growers protect bees in and around their fields.
In addition to specific practices for each crop, both of these Coalition-facilitated guides feature season-long BMPs for growers and beekeepers. Key practices include:
- communicating with beekeepers about hive locations, crop management practices, and any related concerns
- checking extension recommendations, considering multiple pest control strategies, and verifying in-field needs before applying pesticides
- planting and preserving flowering plants in non-crop areas
Please help us continue to promote these important voluntary practices.
In April, these BMPs were highlighted during the Coalition’s spring meeting in Louisville, Kentucky. Coalition members toured a corn farm and a neighboring apple orchard and discussed ways growers can incorporate pollinator-friendly practices. Check out these photos from the field tour:
Nutrition and Forage
In May, members of the Coalition met with USDA National Resource Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency leaders to encourage ongoing discussion about ways to increase and enhance pollinator habitat on private conservation lands. Coalition members and Monarch Collaborative members are interested in finding solutions for increasing the acreage, quality and cost-effectiveness of pollinator habitat in USDA programs and increasing flexibility for landowners to implement these programs.
The Coalition also heard updates in January from two of the Bee Nutrition Challenge winners during the American Bee Research Conference in Arizona . After one year of research, both teams have seen positive results and are moving forward with next steps.
This year the Coalition has worked hard to produce more resources for beekeepers including a set of best management practices for hive health, a varroa management decision tool, and a short guide clarifying antibiotic use for two major bee diseases: American and European foulbrood. Please share these resources with any beekeepers and beekeeping organizations you know.
Bee Integrated Demonstration Project
To tie all three focus areas together, the Coalition pairs farmers and beekeepers to demonstrate best practices in real-world settings. The Bee Integrated demonstration project is now entering its third field season. As the project continues to produce data supporting the combined best practices, the Coalition is considering ways to leverage the project and expand its reach.
The Coalition is excited to support honey bee health. Please help us spread the word about our tools, resources, and initiatives, and check out these quick tips about what you can do to support honey bees.