We are a group of scientists doing research to explore the relationships between bees, environmental horticulture plants, and pesticides.
Our research is primarily targeted towards helping environmental horticulture growers, but our activities also produce valuable resources for home gardeners or anyone interested in the interplay between bees, plants, and pesticides.
This website is our hub to:
GOAL: Identify which envrionmental horticulture plants attract the most bees.
Environmental horticulture plants are often bred to be attractive to humans with big showy flowers, but whether bees also find them attractive is less known.
Determining which plants are most visited by bees will help growers identify 1) the best plants to grow for pollinator gardens, and 2) those plants where special care is needed when selecting pesticides.
GOAL: Help growers manage plant pest outbreaks while minimizing the risks to bees.
If neonicotinoid pesticides are harmful to bees, growers need accurate information on alternatives to non-neonicotinoid pesticides.
For growers to produce high quality plants at the expected quantities, they often require some use of pesticides. The term pesticide means any product used to manage pest, disease, or weed populations. These products can be biopesticides, organic, natural, or human-designed chemistry. Pesticides are often needed to satisfy regulatory requirements for interstate or international shipments, as they prevent pests or diseases from spreading to new regions.
To assess whether horticultural plants treated with neonicotinoids pose threats to pollinators, we are tracking neonicotinoid residue levels in plant pollen and nectar over time.
To assess whether certain non-neonicotinoid pesticides are viable options for growers, we need data on how effective these pesticides are in eliminating pests, how much they cost, and whether they have adverse effects on the environment. Right now this information is scattered among many different resources. We want to make it easy for people to find it.
GOAL: Measure people's perceptions and level of interest in pollinator-friendly plants.
When it comes to purchasing pollinator-friendly plants, knowing people’s preferences and their willingness to pay for those preferences will help growers foster a viable pollinator-friendly market.
Ultimately, growers will only supply pollinator-friendly plants if there is sufficient demand. Gauging the level of interest and purchasing power among growers, landscape professionals, beekeepers, and consumers, is crucial for successfully creating more pollinator-friendly habitat.