The White House announced that the Pollinator Health Task Force has established a National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/Pollinator%20Health%20Strategy%202015.pdf. Involving numerous governmental agencies, the strategy is designed to address the marked declines in populations of honey bees and other pollinators, including North America’s 4000 species of native bees. It also addresses conditions affecting monarch butterflies; their populations have declined by 90 percent. Goals of the strategy include reducing honey bee colony winter losses to historic levels of no more than 15 percent, increasing monarch butterfly populations, and restoring seven million acres of land for pollinators. Some of the features of the strategy include developing affordable pollinator-friendly seed mixes and developing best management practices for minimizing pollinator exposure to pesticides. Public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management may be opened for honey bee forage. Wildflowers may be planted atop contaminated sites following clean-up by the Environmental Protection Agency. We should finally see expansion of pollinator habitat on highway rights-of-way and the development of a native seed reserve. A pollinator corridor for monarch butterflies is planned to extend along I-35 from the Texas border with Mexico northward to Minnesota. One feature of the strategy involves planting native plant species that bloom at different times to ensure continuous bee nutrition. A most important feature of the strategy involves protecting pollinators from exposure to pesticides. The neonicotinoid insecticides will be re-evaluated along with their use as seed treatments.
Today’s picture is taken from the poster announcing The White House Garden Lecture Series. I was honored to be invited to speak on bee-friendly gardens at this event in Collierville, Tennessee. The White House bee hive and pollinator garden build awareness of the importance of pollinators in the health of citizens and the environment. The White House is home to America’s oldest continuously landscaped gardens. This comprehensive bee protection strategy is welcomed by beekeepers. Thanks to all who worked toward its development.--Richard
Part of the problem with honey bee forage in some states is the "native plants" BS. My bees were perfectly happy with Crown Vetch until the DoT decided native was better and started planting big blue stem and other "native" plants that produce little nectar.ReplyDelete
Native isn't necessarily better just because it makes some liberal feel better to use the word. I still maintain the smaller more diverse and traditional European agriculture like you find in some states is more beneficial to honey bees and explains why they suffer less Winter losses than other areas usually.
The grasses, like big bluestem, Andropogon gerardi, are wind pollinated; and, therefore, they don’t supply nectar and pollen for honey bees. These plants are desirable for wildlife cover and forage. These clumping grasses are particularly effective in providing habitat for small birds and mammals.ReplyDelete
Honey bees thrive on many European flowing plants because the bees are native to Europe. The National Strategy to Promote Honey Bees and Other Pollinators is designed to benefit butterflies, moths, and 4000 species of native bees as well. These New World insects thrive on native flowering plants. This blog provides a beekeeper’s view of beekeeping, agricultural, and environmental matters.
Perhaps I did not explain my point very well but I fail to see how this initiative can be mutually beneficial to all the types of pollinators mentioned. Removal of traditional ground covers like say Crown Vetch and replacement with grasses will NOT be beneficial to honey bees. There are mutually beneficial compromises but they are not generally what some would call native.
Vetch is recognized by beekeepers as a major nectar source. Search the key word “vetch” on this blog for some previous postings regarding this legume.Delete
Multiple governmental agencies as well as established seed production companies are currently working to identify flowering plant species that will benefit both honey bees and native pollinators. Please see pages 44 through 46 of the strategy document for the “Native Seed Strategy and Reserve.”
I welcome this strategy. Great benefit of these efforts will occur when we establish pollinator corridors tying together diverse pollinator habitats.
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Thoroughly approve of this initiative: one of our properties lies in ironbark country where bees are critical for proper forest functioning. An initiative that encourages research to preserve this is a very good thing for the world in general.ReplyDelete
Interestingly, the French are presently also concerned to preserve populations of bees and other pollinating insects: http://www.cpnt.fr/index.php/infos-ecologie/item/1483-france-terre-de-pollinisateurs-bien-mais-peu-mieux-faireReplyDelete