Supporting pollinators – Don’t forget about wild bees

Bryan Danforth, professor in Cornell’s Department of Entomology studies the role of wild (native) bees in crop pollination, remind people that while the federal government’s interest in reversing the decline in honey bees is a step in the right direction, they shouldn’t forget the native wild pollinators who also provide important pollination services for agricultural producers – but they do it for free.


Danforth’s work focuses on the role of wild bees in apple pollination in New York state. Biography:


Danforth says:


“Our studies of New York apple orchards have revealed over 100 native bee species contributing to apple pollination. These native species are sometimes more effective pollinators than the honey bee – and they are working for free. Wild bees provide an important buffer against the declines we are currently seeing in honey bee populations.


“Both wild bees and managed honey bees need your help. Some good strategies for wild pollinator conservation include planting native wildflowers in your garden, reducing pesticide use, and leaving unmanaged, fallow farmland for bee foraging.


“Honey bees are not the only pollinators we should be worried about. Honey bees are a non-native species in North America – they were introduced from Europe in the 1600’s. Our native bees are both diverse and effective crop pollinators. There are over 20,000 bee species in the world, around 4,000 bee species in the U.S., and in New York alone, we have 450 native bees species.”



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