Maximizing Pollinator Services from Native Bees

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2015: $29,964.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2017
Grant Recipient: University of Minnesota
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Karl Foord
University of Minnesota

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: berries (blueberries)


  • Crop Production: pollinator habitat

    Proposal abstract:

    Pollinators are threatened, both honey bees and native pollinators. Our food production systems are unsustainable in the absence of pollinators. Both fruit and vegetable producers rely on pollination services to achieve economically sustainable yields. A system that provides stable and reliable pollination services needs to be created in light of the pollinator crisis. One way to achieve stable pollinator services is to target the needs of native pollinators. By providing both nesting habitat and forage resources, native pollinators can serve as either a backup, or as a stand-alone stable force contributing pollination services. “Nesting preference is one of the most poorly described areas of bee biology.” (H. Sardiñas in an article derived from her grant, GW12-024.) Having observed many nests in blueberry fields and having identified three excellent blueberry producers, this project will focus on blueberries. However results are expected to be applicable to apples, strawberries, and raspberries. Nesting habitat recommendations will be developed for native pollinators active in fruit production. The short window of fruit crop flowering is not sufficient to maintain these native species whose life cycles begin before and end after this window. A localized forage plan suited to those bees providing pollination services will be developed.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Identify the best candidate native bee species to provide pollination services to the fruit and vegetable growers in the region
    2. Determine critical parameters of nesting habitat for these identified species
    3. Develop recommendations for native bee nesting habitat for fruit & vegetable growers
    4. Develop a suggested plant list specific to each crop which will provide forage outside the flowering window of the crop and meet the needs of the identified pollinators
    5. Develop a video demonstrating nesting habitat recommendations
    6. Develop a video demonstrating forage recommendations
    7. Present findings at Upper Midwest Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.