Methods to conserve and augment beneficial insects in modern horticultural production systems are needed given issues with pest resistance to insecticides, pest resurgence due to lack of natural enemies, and replacement of native with invasive species. Production systems also require pollinators and, in recent years, declines in managed and wild species have been well documented. Organic agriculture systems are less disturbed by insecticides and well suited to benefit from practices designed to improve abundance and diversity of beneficial insects.
Bees and Pollinators
Objectives were: 1. to provide beekeepers with safe, effective, reliable and affordable alternatives to Apistan and Coumaphos for control of parasitic mites. Currently, these chemicals must be applied twice each year to ensure colony survival, and that is often insufficient. I will investigate alternative strategies that either reduce the use of synthetic pesticides by ½ or that eliminate them all together.
Native bee pollinators link natural habitats with agricultural areas. Native bee populations may rely on natural habitats to provide forage and nesting resources during part of the year, and agricultural areas the rest of the year. Native bee pollinators may provide pollination services in both areas, and may in turn depend on both. Thus problems in one area could affect the other.
Investigator: Michael Mazourek, Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
Project location: Cornell University’s 30 acre certified organic Freeville Organic Research Farm, located 10 miles north of Cornell’s Ithaca, New York main campus.
This award will help organic seed producers increase their yields, reduce the risk of having their crops contaminated with pollen from non-organic and GMO varieties, and improve biodiversity on their farms. Growers who raise organic seed crops that are pollinated by bees, such as alfalfa, canola, cotton and beets, have increasingly had their plants contaminated with pollen from non-organic and GMO varieties.