June 16, 2015
The Butterfly Effect: Insect’s Wings Key To Azalea Pollination
A researcher from North Carolina State University (NC State) has found that in the case of the flame azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum), all pollinators are not created equal. In fact, due to the flower’s unique reproductive structure, butterflies — and specifically, their wings — are the key to pollination. The flame azalea is commonly found in the Appalachian Mountains, ranging from as far north as New York to Georgia in the south. Like most azaleas, the flowers are large, and have an unusual structure: both the anther (male) and stigma (female) parts are very elongated and separated from one another. NC State biologist Mary Jane Epps was interested in how the azalea’s flower structure affected its pollination. “In order for a plant to reproduce, a pollinator — usually an insect — has to spread the pollen from the anther to the stigma,” Epps says. “In the case of the flame azalea, […]
June 18, 2015
Pest Management And Marketing Strategies For Bee-Friendly Plants
Michigan State University Extension shares pest management practices to produce plants that are safe for pollinators and marketing strategies for clearing up confusion about bee-friendly plants.
June 10, 2015
Experts Convene to Discuss How to Protect Bees, Other Pollinators
A new conference organized by North Carolina State University (NC State) and Michigan State University (MSU) will focus on the need for bee-friendly ornamental landscapes and practical solutions for protecting bees and other pollinators. This autumn, researchers, educators and industry experts from around the country will descend on a small town in rural North Carolina to discuss a question with repercussions for both the economy and the environment: what can be done to protect bees and other pollinators? The conference is focused specifically on what can be done to not only conserve but also bolster pollinator populations in so-called ornamental landscapes, such as urban areas and manicured gardens. It is the brain child of two entomologists – Steve Frank of NC State and David Smitley of MSU. With pollinator declines in the news, public demand for bee-friendly ornamental plants is high, but much of the available research has addressed pesticides and […]
June 3, 2015
The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Launches With Unprecedented Support And Collaboration
The National Pollinator Garden Network (NPGN) launched the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge on June 3, just in time for National Pollinator Week, held June 21-25. The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge is a strategic effort to promote and protect the needs of pollinators in North America. Representatives of the recently formed Network joined First Lady Michelle Obama on June 3 for an event that’s part of her “Let’s Move” Initiative at the White House, to formally launch the Challenge. The launch of the Challenge is an unprecedented collaboration by dozens of conservation and gardening organizations, including green industry associations like AmericanHort, America in Bloom, Society of American Florists, American Floral Endowment, the National Garden Bureau and the American Horticultural Society. The organizations joined together to form the National Pollinator Garden Network and launch the new nationwide campaign – the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. Designed to accelerate growing efforts across America, the Network is launching the […]
May 27, 2015
Growers Working Hard To Protect Pollinators — And Their Businesses (Opinion)
Editor’s Note: This editorial was written and published just prior to the news coming out about Lowe’s phasing out neonicotinoids by 2019. However, that news doesn’t change the fact that growers have a long history as good stewards of their land and of the environment. As evidenced by the 2015 Top 100 Growers Report, the nation’s largest growers continue to adapt their production practices to be cognizant of environmental factors, worker safety, retailer preferences and consumer concerns. In light of Lowe’s announcement, growers who produce for the retailer are certainly working toward that mandate; but they’re also hopeful that the research currently underway will provide scientific reason for decisions made on production going forward. When the news broke last year that growers would be required to label plants treated with neonicotinoids at The Home Depot, and that other retailers were mandating growers to produce crops without neonics, I sucked in air and […]
May 14, 2015
Pollinator Health 2015: What’s Next For Horticulture?
The news on pollinators and neonicotinoids continues to fluctuate between good and bad. Research and outreach efforts backed by the Bee and Pollinator Stewardship Initiative help move the industry in a positive direction.
April 29, 2015
RISE Delivers Petition Urging President Obama To Protect Pollinators
Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE) delivered a pollinator petition to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, urging President Obama to create more habitat and forage areas for pollinators, and to consider all sources of information on, and contributors to the pollinator health issue. Nearly 600 citizens from across the U.S. signed the petition. “Our petition shows President Obama that citizens want a balanced and substantive conversation to happen on the pollinator health issue,” says Aaron Hobbs, RISE president. “The pollinator issue is very complex and research points to multiple factors affecting pollinators, including pests and parasites, microbial diseases, nutrition problems, bee management practices and climate change.” According to Hobbs, the petition highlights some of the steps the industry is taking to support pollinators. This includes creating pollinator-friendly habitats and forage areas through integrated vegetation management in utility rights-of-way and large tracts of land. “We do applaud the White House for including in […]
April 11, 2015
Lowe’s Announces Commitment To Phase Out Neonicotinoids By 2019
Home improvement retailer Lowe’s companies announced April 9 that it has committed to eliminate neonicotinoid pesticides from its stores in a gradual phase-out over the next 48 months. In response, horticulture industry associations issued a statement that Lowe’s position is surprising, considering the most recent and positive reports on the state of honeybee health and recent peer reviewed research, and that this is an issue for which sound science must take priority.
April 10, 2015
10 Steps For Protecting Crops And Bees
Bees stay safe and high quality crops thrive when you use bee-friendly practices designed to help both succeed. Griffin Greenhouse Supply Pro (GGSPro) has been actively discussing bee-friendly pesticide use for years. Based on its current understanding of the science and social factors at play, GGSPro currently recommends these 10 bee-friendly practices.
April 8, 2015
AFE To Fund Honey Bee Health Research Focused On Translocation Of Systemic Insecticides
The American Floral Endowment (AFE) is funding a new research project to examine the health of honey bees on ornamental plants following treatment with neonicotinoids and other systemic insecticides.
March 25, 2015
NASS Reports U.S. Honey Production Was Up By 19 Percent In 2014
Honey production in 2014 from producers with five or more colonies totaled 178 million pounds, up 19 percent from 2013, according to a March 20 report from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
March 17, 2015
4 Key Pollinator Research Projects To Be Funded By Horticultural Research Institute
The Horticultural Research Institute will grant $125,000 in financial support for four key projects as part of the Horticultural Industry Bee & Pollinator Stewardship Initiative. The Initiative has three primary goals. First, to convene a task force to develop a bee and pollinator stewardship program, including creation of best management practices for plant production. Second, to identify and fund research that will help answer key science questions and fill gaps needed to design and refine the stewardship program. Third, to seek to positively position the horticultural community and its customers by collaborating with other compatible groups interested in augmenting pollinator habitat and protection.
March 11, 2015
Pollinator Initiative Promotes Bee-Friendly Talking Points
AmericanHort and the Society of American Florists are working tirelessly with the ornamental industry's Pollinator Stewardship Initiative on a number of new projects.
December 9, 2014
Industry Has Cheers And Jeers For White House Pollinator Health Task Force, Bischoff Says
In late November, AmericanHort and SAF submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the Obama administration’s Pollinator Health Task Force. AmericanHort is urging the task force to remain focused on their original mission and to rely on credible scientific evidence.
November 18, 2014
Pollinator Stewardship Task Force Identifies Research Agenda
The Horticulture Industry Pollinator Stewardship Task Force has developed an agenda to signal to researchers the kinds of targeted research projects the industry wishes to support.
November 14, 2014
Skagit Gardens To Eliminate Use Of Neonicotinoid Pesticides
Skagit Gardens, a wholesale grower located outside Mount Vernon, Wash., will eliminate all use of neonicotinoid pesticides beginning in January 2015.