Pollination Security for Fruit and Vegetable Crops in the Northeast

Bee Health March 07, 2014|Print

Researchers work to make crop pollination sustainable in the Northeast

Editor:Philip Moore, The University of Tennessee
Last Edited: November 25, 2013

The pollinator security project was initiated in 2011 to address a gap in knowledge with respect to pollinator communities in northeastern cropland.

Reports of declining native pollinators, decreased availability of honey bee rental colonies, and general public misunderstanding led to the creation of this working group to produce a sustainable pollination strategy for stakeholders.

The goal is to contribute to long-term profitability of fruit and vegetable production and the outcome is this webpage along with other farm training and publications to increase knowledge and adoption of practices that protect pollinator communities.

One component of this project is video segments which highlight aspects of fruit or vegetable production in the Northeast. The first in this series focuses on commercial blueberry production in Maine and comes to you in seven parts.

Part One: Commercial Blueberry Pollination in Maine's Blueberry Barrens

 
Video Segments (titles without links are yet to be released):

Part 1:  Commercial Blueberry Pollination in Maine's Blueberry Barrens
Part 2: Lowbush Blueberry in Maine, Native Plants and Native Bees in a Modern System
Part 3: Pollinator Plantings (The Bee Module) for Maine Lowbush Blueberry

Part 4: Landscape Ecology in Maine's Blueberry Growing Region
Part 5: Grower Interviews and the Economics of Lowbush Blueberry in Maine
Part 6: Research Topics in Lowbush Blueberry Pollination
Part 7: How to Estimate Native Bee Abundance in the Field

Specific objectives of this project are to : 

1. Determine the contributions of pollinator communities and identify which site characteristics have the greatest influence on pollinator effectiveness in apple, lowbush blueberry, cranberry, and cucurbit.
2. Develop hypotheis-driven model based on factors shown to affect pollination deficits.
3. 
Quantify pesticide residues in pollen and relate to crop and management strategies, and estimated risk to the bee community.
4. 
Assess shared parasite load between introduced and native pollinator communities.
5. 
Analyze the economics of pollination services and determine the value of pollination service.
6. 
Heighten our understanding of the grower community to understand why farmers accept innovation and to increase adoption of pollinator conservation measures.
7. 
Facilitate knowledge transfer allowing growers to both assess and improve pollination security.

This content is produced by a group of researchers from across the northeast:

Frank Drummond, The University of Maine
Kimberly Stoner, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
Dana Bauer
Bryan Danforth
John Burand, The University of Massachusetts

Brian Eitzer, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
Aaron Hoshide
Cyndy Loftin
Tom Stevens, The University of Massachusetts
John Skinner, The University of Tennessee
Dave Yarborough, The University of Maine
Tracy Zarrillo, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
Sunil Tewari
Ajanta De
Kalyn Bickerman, The University of Maine
Eric Asare
Shannon Chapin, The University of Maine
Eric Venturini, The University of Maine
Sara Bushman
Michael Wilson, The University of Tennessee

 

Funded by the USDA-NIFA Specialty Crops Research Initiative (SCRI)