Pollinator Plant Lists

1. How can one determine which native pollinators are important for crop pollination?

  • Quick solution = look at which pollinators are visiting the crop
  • More complex = look at which pollinators are visiting the crop and determine how much they are contributing to the pollination of that crop

2. Which forage plants should be included in a pollinator enhancement planting?

  • Regionally appropriate plants that pollinators are known to visit should be included in the planting.
    • Quick solution = look at existing research to pull together a list of which plant species crop pollinators are known to visit
    • More Complex = Sample nearby natural areas and id what plant species are being visited by crop pollinators

3. Should plants be chosen to attract a diverse mix of bee species or should certain bee species be targeted?

  • Encouraging increased diversity and abundance = good strategy.
    • Even some small bees can contribute greatly to crop pollination. E.g. In the case of watermelon pollination in the Sacramento Valley “Small Striped Sweat Bees” (Halictus tripartitus) contributed the most pollination services – in part because of their shear abundance. The “Yellow Faced Bumble Bee” (Bombus vosnesenskii) and the “Black Faced Bumble Bee” (Bombus californicus) were second and third on the list.
    • One could also focus on encouraging bumble bees and assume that generalists often found in degraded areas (e.g. “Small Striped Sweat Bee”) will find the enhanced resources.

4. Are there cover crops that could be used to enhance pollinators?

  • Many existing cover crop mixes include plant species that provide forage resources for bees. Clovers (Trifolium sp), for example, are visited by both bumble bees and honey bees.
  • Phacelia sp. look like they might be a promising cover crop.
  • Forb seeds can be pricey, but could potentially plant every other row with a forb cover crop.

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