Managed bees and native pollinators are necessary to agriculture. More than 90 crops in the U. S., including almonds, tree fruits, cotton, berries, and many vegetables, are dependent on insect pollinators such as the honey bee for reproduction. Bee-pollinated crops account for 15-30 percent of the food we eat.
Beekeepers have suffered significant colony losses over the past decade, raising questions about the sustainability of managed colonies. Reasons for loss include pests, parasites, diseases, low genetic diversity, and poor nutrition. Currently, the consensus is there is no one factor that can be blamed for the declines, and additional research is needed.
Since 2015, stakeholders have met to reduce pollinator loss in Kentucky, and the first Pollinator Protection Plan was released this past June. The goals of the plan are to:
- Share best management plans with beekeepers, chemical applicators, and landowners
- Increase pollinator habitats
- Provide supporting education, extension and outreach
- Facilitate communication among landowners, chemical applicators and pollinator advocates.
To learn more about the plan, visit www.kyagr.com/statevet/honeybees.html