Our studies indicate that wild bees are playing
a major role in apple pollination.
Project lead, Bryan Danforth, describes this citizen science project which is designed to have a major impact on how apple growers manage the pollination of their orchards.
A special thanks to our funding partners:
Apple growers vary widely in their reliance on honey bees, but the decision about whether to use them is not always based on empirical data. We’re working to change that.
This citizen science project allows us to gather and analyze data on the temporal and geographic patterns of apple bloom and the abundance of wild and managed bees at orchards across the Northeast.
In return, we will provide informed advice to apple growers about effective pollinator management.
Some wild bee species are more effective pollinators on a per-visit basis than honey bees.
We’ll share our data with apple growers, allowing them to make more informed decisions about pollination and pest management.
We’ll also provide ways for the public to interact and learn from our findings, including:
- insights into the relationship between apple fruit set and wild bee abundance,
- strategies for conservation of wild pollinators,
- and the challenges of sustainable apple orchard management.
Increased wild bee diversity and abundance leads to improved seed and fruit set in apples.
If you are an apple grower in the northeastern United States,
we need your help!
Participating in our project will be simple: we’ll provide clear instructions and simple survey tools; you’ll contribute 15 minutes of your time during the flowering season.
Your participation will allow us to provide you with specific recommendations for how best to manage your pollination needs.
We hope to be able to reduce your costs and improve your pollination efficiency. You’ll also have access to data about bloom patterns and climate across the region that can inform your practices in the coming years.
We’ll help you to make more informed decisions about whether to purchase, rent, or borrow honey bees for apple pollination. And, in many instances, we may help you eliminate the need to rely on honey bees at all.
Would you like to participate?
Apple flowering is an ideal indicator of shifts in flowering patterns across the eastern US.
Developed sampling protocols and communication materials, communicates with apple growers and external partners, and overseeing the project.
Outreach Support Specialist
Communicates with project participants and developes training and educational materials for the website and project participants.