The European Union’s restriction on the use of neonicotinoids and the jointUSDA/EPA report of a continued decline in honey bees reminds us of the on-going issues with pollinator health. Specifically, the decline of honey bee populations is reaching a breaking point for pollinated crops in the United States. In an article published in Wired magazine (Keim 2013), entomologist Dennis vanEngelstorp from the University of Maryland noted, “We’re getting closer and closer to the point where we don’t have enough bees in this country to meet pollination demands.”
Although the factors thought to be causing this decline are many, there are some simple things we can do to help conserve bees. All bees share some basic needs: something to eat and someplace to live. As noted in the USDA/EPA report, the habitat that is available to bees in the United States is shrinking in size and declining in quality. To reverse this trend, several universities, including Iowa State University, are investigating how to get more high-quality habitat in our landscape. This article will review this work and provide some ‘best practices to conserve bees.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/erin_hodgson/30/