Plantings of native wildflowers can attract and support wild bees and honeybees. Plantings of a mix of species that bloom after the crop to provide an ongoing source of pollen and nectar, have shown benefit in some crop systems.
PHOTO BY BRETT BLAAUW
Five specific objectives for the Integrated Crop Pollination project are:
- Identify economically valuable pollinators and the factors affecting their abundance.
- Develop habitat management practices to improve crop pollination.
- Determine performance of alternative managed bees as specialty crop pollinators.
- Demonstrate and deliver ICP practices for specialty crops.
- Determine optimal methods for ICP information delivery and measure ICP adoption.
Project manager Keith Mason at Michigan State University will manage and standardize data collection across the 15 institutions and crops involved in the ICP project. The crops being studied are cherries, apples, almonds, blueberries, raspberries, squash, and watermelons.
Co-project directors are Neal Williams, pollination entomologist, University of California, Davis; Theresa Pitts-Singer, research entomologist, USDA-ARS Pollinating Insects Research Unit, Logan, Utah; Mace Vaughan, pollinator program director, Xerces Society, Portland, Oregon; Kelly Garbach, social scientist at Loyola University; and Taylor Ricketts, ecological economist at the University of Vermont.