Integrating Pollinator Habitat into Michigan Landscapes: The Opportunities and the Realities

Monday, April 18, 2016 - 4:10pm
Event Type: 

Rufus Isaacs, Michigan State University, Department of Entomology

Mondays, 4:10 p.m. E164 Lagomarcino Hall

Co-sponsored by EEB / EEOB

Abstract. Access to pollen- and nectar-rich habitats is a key factor in the health of managed and wild bee populations. Diverse food sources can buffer the negative effects of other stresses, but this requires that bees have access to floristically-rich habitat within their flight range. In regions such as Michigan that combine pollination-dependent crops, diverse landscapes, and a significant commercial honey bee industry, there are many opportunities to develop habitat for bees. With increasing interest from the local to the federal level in expanding the amount of habitat for pollinators, we are working at multiple scales to inform the design and implementation of pollinator habitat within Michigan landscapes. We are investigating the relative attractiveness of native flowering plants for bees, the role of wildflower plantings in enhancing crop pollinators, and the benefit of these habitat restorations for crop pollination and yield of fruit crops. Michigan also has a significant commercial honeybee industry that provides pollination services as well as honey, and we are exploring how conservation programs might be targeted to better enhance these colonies. I will report on these ongoing projects, along with our experiences managing these plantings and working with landowners to establish new habitat to achieve pollinator conservation goals.