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Alternative Pollinators & How You Can Help Conserve Them Emily K. Dobbs Jonathan Larson Blake Newton University of Kentucky, Department of Entomology


Pollinator Problems: Overview

Bumble Bee: a native pollinator (photo: David Cappaert, Michigan State University)

1. honey bees are in danger 2. can other bees and pollintors fill the void? 3. how to help pollinators in your yard or garden


Why Are Pollinators Important? -flowering plants, as we know them, can’t exist without pollinators -most of the world’s pollination is accomplished by insects, especially bees -flowering plants and insects co-evolved ~100 million years ago -edible fruits come from flowers: most fruits would not exist without insect pollinators


Bees are One-Trick Pollinator Ponies! The entomological definition of a bee: a special type of wasp that has evolved to move pollen from one place to another All bees (not just honey bees) have special branched hairs on their bodies that are designed to hold pollen. NO OTHER insects or animals have these special hairs Bees don’t do much except pollinate and eat pollen and nectar. They are the world’s most efficient pollintors.

Pollen Basket on a bee: bees have these, and no other insects do! Jeffrey W. Lotz, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services


Honey Bee

Photo: Joseph Berger, UGA

Apis mellifera Most important Ag and Garden pollinator Pollination value: $9 billion per year in U.S. Mobile colonies: the key to mass success


Honey Bee Photo: Robert W. Matthews, University of Georgia

Photo: Joseph Berger, UGA

Currently threatened by diseases, pesticides, and other factors: CCD, colony collapse disorder Honey bee is NOT native to the U.S. Came to North America around 1600


Other Bees Honey Bees aren’t the only kind of bees! There are thousands of bee species in the world Most of them do not live in hives or make honey, but all of them pollinate!


Native Pollinators

+4000 Native Bee Species -many butterflies, flies, beetles, ants and more


Native Bees

$3 Billion Annually


Bees Besides Honey Bees Solitary Bees: most native bee species in the U.S. are “solitary.” This means that they do not make hives, don’t make honey, and don’t work together. They gather nectar and pollen and feed it to their own young only.

Sweat Bee Photo: David Cappaert, Michigan State University

Leafcutter Bee Photo: Jack Dykinga, USDA Agricultural Research Service


Bees Besides Honey Bees Solitary Bees: another example of solitary bees include carpenter bees. Many of these look like bumblebees, but they don’t live in a hive like bumblebees. Some of these are very large.

Carpenter Bee Photo: David Cappaert, Michigan State University

Carpenter Bee Photo: Johnny N. Dell, Bugwood.org


Bees Besides Honey Bees Hive Bees: bumblebees are the only other bees in the U.S. that are truly social. Like honey bees, they live in hives and work together. Social bees are probably the very best pollinators.

Red-Tailed Bumblebee Photo: Rob Routledge, Sault College

Wandering Bumblebee Photo: David Cappaert, Michigan State University


Other Native Pollinators Other important native U.S. pollinators include all butterflies, plus many ants, beetles, moths, spiders, flies, and any other insect that regularly visits flowers

Flower Fly Susan Ellis, Bugwood.org

Monarch Photo: Jennifer E. Dacey, University of Rhode Island


Hawk Moth Photo: David Cappaert, Michigan State University


Can Native Pollinators Help Us? -As honey bee colonies decline, it is possible that native bumblebees and other bees will INCREASE in number -can native bees and other pollinators help to “take up the slack� if honeybees decline in number? How can we help them?


Can Native Pollinators Help Us? Mobile Bumblebee Colonies In the same way that honey bees colonies are moved from one place to another for pollination, people are experimenting with mobile bumblebee colonies. There is some promise here, but bumblebees don’t overwinter as a whole colony like honeybees do. Bumblebees are actually used quite a bit for greenhouse pollination.


Native Pollinator Plight

Unfortunately, some of our native pollinators are having problems as well!


Native Pollinator Plight


Native Pollinator Plight

• Social bumblebees and solitary bees are declining – Habitat Loss – Pesticide Use – Disease


UK Research: Project Pollinator -we looked at planting beds of native flowers to help native pollinators

-in general, if you plant flowers that are native to Kentucky, you can help pollinators -what follows are a few recommended flowers that will attract (and help!) lots of native pollinators


Butterfly

Bee

Bee, cont.

Agastache foeniculum, Lavender Hyssop Allium cernuum, Nodding Pink Onion Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Milkweed Cassia hebecarpa, Wild Senna Coreopsis lanceolata, Lance-Leaved Coreopsis Dalea purpurea, Purple Prairie Clover Desmanthus illinoensis, Illinois Bundleflower Echinacea purpurea, Purple Coneflower Eryngium yuccifolium, Rattlesnake Master Liatris spicata, Gayfeather Rudbeckia hirta, Black-Eyed Susan Solidago rigida, Rigid Goldenrod Verbena bonariensis, Purpletop Verbena Verbena stricta, Hoary Vervain Veronicastrum virginicum, Culver’s Root Zizia aurea, Golden Alexander

Aquilegia canadensis, Eastern Columbine Coreopsis lanceolata, Lance-Leaved Coreopsis Echinacea purpurea, Purple Coneflower Monarda fistulosa, Bergamot Ratibida columnifera, Prairie Coneflower Rudbeckia subtomentosa, Sweet BlackEyed Susan Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, New England Aster Tradescantia ohiensis, Ohio Spiderwort

Agastache foeniculum, Lavender Hyssop Aquilegia canadensis, Eastern Columbine Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Milkweed Coreopsis lanceolata, Lance-Leaved Coreopsis Coreopsis tinctoria, Plains Coreopsis (annual) Echinacea purpurea, Purple Coneflower Echinacea tennesseensis, Tennessee Purple Coneflower Eryngium yuccifolium, Rattlesnake Master Gaillardia pulchella, Annual Gaillardia (annual) Helianthus annuus, Wild Sunflower (annual) Monarda fistulosa, Bergamot Penstemon digitalis, Smooth Penstemon Ratibida columnifera, Prairie Coneflower Rudbeckia subtomentosa, Sweet BlackEyed Susan Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, New England Aster Tradescantia ohiensis, Ohio Spiderwort Zizia aurea, Golden Alexander


New England aster


Prairie Coneflower


Lavender Hyssop


Purpletop verbena

Purple coneflower

Hoary vervain


Lance-leaf coreopsis


Black-eyed Susan


Wild sunflower


Bergamot


Plains coreopsis


BUT: you don’t have to plant a garden to help pollinators. By managing your yard a little differently, you can give native pollinators lots to chew on!

Leafcutter Bee Photo: David Cappaert, Michigan State University


Lawn weeds, like clover & dandelion, are common


Recommendations  Plant native flowers  Delay mowing or herbicide treatmen on lawns until after peak blooming of lawn weeds


Resources Monarch Watch: http://www.monarchwatch.org/

Pollinator Partnership: http://www.pollinator.org/

Bumblebees of the Eastern U.S. http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/documents/BumbleBeeGuideEast2011.pdf

Alternative Pollinators and How to Conserve Them  

A look at alternatives to the Honeybee for pollination.

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