About Us

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:

Sunflower with a bee in the middle.

Research Areas

Bees &
Plants

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.

Bees &
Plant Pests

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.

Bees &
Public Perception

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.

Resources

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Pollinator Info

Learn about the pollinators visiting your garden. Read the latest pollinator news.

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Buzz Your Garden

Use our database to create a customized pollinator-friendly plant list for your garden.

Pollinators in the News

In April 2020, Emily Erikson’s Pollinator Module, “More Than Meets the Eye? The Role of Annual Ornamental Plants in Supporting Pollinators” was published. Erickson is a fourth-year graduate student in the Grozinger Lab at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on how pollinators interact with ornamental plant species and how artificial selection and breeding […]

The Northeast Pollinator IPM (Integrated Pest Management) Working Group has put together a new website with resources for outreach and education related to pollinator ecology and plant-pollinator interactions! This includes lesson plans developed by PSU postdocs and grad students in collaboration with the Penn State Center for Science and the Schools, as well as some […]

Bumble bee on a cone flower.

Pollinators are vital components of natural and agricultural ecosystems. However, both managed and wild populations have environmental and economic value, and both are in decline. Multiple interacting factors cause decline such as pollutants, changes in land use, and climate change. The Entomological Society of America (ESA) has recently updated and rereleased their statement on pollinator [...]