Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pollinator Population Is Going Down In PA Due To Pesticides, Parasites And Pathogens

The Joint Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee was told Monday pollinator populations are declining in Pennsylvania just when the demand for pollinated fruits and vegetables is going up.
Dr. Harland Patch, Department of Entomology, Penn State University, said they reasons for the declines are diverse and sometimes geographically specific.  The causes include pesticides, poor nutrition, parasites and pathogens.
He noted Pennsylvania is a very special place for pollinators due to the high level of crop diversity and the fact that most farms are relatively small with mixed landscapes.  These are great places for bees to live because there are a lot of “edge” habitats.
Dr. Patch said it is important that landscapes be managed properly to maintain pollinator richness and abundance.  He pointed to the orchards near Biglerville in Adams County as an example where there are as many as 236 species of bees in a single orchard.
He also highlighted the work being done by the Department of Agriculture to put together a PA Pollinator Protection Plan to create a strategy to promote pollinator health.
Charles Vorisek, past president of the PA State Beekeepers Association, told the Committee the number of registered beekeepers increased by 800 in 2016 to a total of 4,500 beekeepers in the state with over 60,000 colonies.  There are also about 6,500 bee yards or apiaries in the state.
He outlined the challenges faced by beekeepers across the state from disease, parasites, pesticides and chemicals.
Click Here to watch the hearing online.
[Note: Many seed companies now offer special pollinator collections to encourage the planting of pollinator gardens.  For larger applications, companies like Ernst Seeds in Meadville, Crawford County carry a variety of pollinator mixtures and support efforts to create pollinator habitat.]
Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) serves as Chair of the Joint Conservation Committee.
For more information, visit the Joint Conservation Committee website, Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Committee.

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