PEI

Farmers looking beyond honey bees for pollination

P.E.I. is a leader when it comes to enhancing the environment to attract wild bee pollinators, says a researcher from the University of Maine.
With honey bee populations declining, farmers are trying to attract wild pollinators to their crops. (Stephen Ausmus/Reuters)

P.E.I. is a leader when it comes to enhancing the environment to attract wild bee pollinators, says a researcher from the University of Maine.

Frank Drummond, a professor of pollination from the University of Maine, was one of a group of researchers at a workshop this week sponsored by Dalhousie University. The Montague, P.E.I., workshop was focused on pollinating crops in the light of a global crisis in honey bee populations.

The researchers presented ideas for growing the population and attracting more wild pollinating bees.  Drummond said that means creating an environment in which the bees can thrive, and he said that shouldn't just be the responsibility of individual farmers.

"One thing that many areas are looking into is trying to get municipalities involved by mowing fields, pollinator plantings, also getting private companies involved," said Drummond.

"In Maine we have an effort to get the landfill companies to actually cover the landfills with pollinator plantings, so that those bees can build up and then flow across the landscape and benefit farmers. It's a whole sort of village approach, not to put all of the responsibility on individual farmers."

Drummond said because P.E.I. was limited when it came to importing honey bees, producers have been trying to enhance wild pollinators for 15 years. Wyman's has been experimenting with cutting down areas close to its blueberry fields to allow wildflowers to grow and attract more wild bees.

The company has already seen an increase in wild bees in the fields.

now