Pollinator Health Meetings to provide update on Great Lakes Pollinator Health Project

Three regional meetings will share how to support and build on local efforts to improve pollinator health based on MSU research and findings.

Honey bee on blueberry
Photo by Kelsey Graham, MSU Entomology

Project overview

For the past two years, Michigan State University research and Extension staff in the Great Lakes Pollinator Health Project have been crisscrossing the state, all with the singular goal of supporting the health of pollinators. This includes wild bees, honey bees and monarch butterflies.

There are 465 species of wild bees found in Michigan, but we know very little about their current status. This is concerning, as they help pollinate plants in many of Michigan’s natural habitats and in our fruit and vegetable crops. This MSU team has been documenting current wild bee communities and comparing them to historic collections.

Recent concerns over monarch butterflies have been making headlines. Michigan plays an important role in the monarch lifecycle, as new generations of monarchs start here and they need their host plant, milkweed, to develop on. But declines in the number of milkweed plants available in the Midwest has put a strain on the monarch population. Therefore, researchers are figuring out the best ways to create monarch habitat to encourage egglaying and survival of this charismatic species.

Beekeepers have faced many challenges with maintaining healthy colonies. Increased pest and pathogen pressure is making beekeeping more difficult. So, this team has also been monitoring sentinel hives across the state and developing resources and training tools to help maintain healthy colonies.

Learning about pollinator health challenges and how you can help

Catching bees
Photo by Kelsey Graham, MSU Entomology.

Are you interested in supporting pollinator health in Michigan? Members of the MSU project team will discuss results from this Great Lakes Pollinator Health Project and highlight opportunities for supporting pollinators at three Pollinator Health Meetings in March 2019.

This series of three meetings will each include a short presentation of project results followed by a discussion led by MSU Extension educators on how we can use current findings to support and build on local efforts to improve pollinator health in your region. This meeting should be of interest to beekeepers, growers, conservation districts, land managers, utility companies, road and drain commissions, and others with the potential to support pollinator health.

Please join us for these meetings in Traverse City, West Olive and Frankenmuth that are free and open to all. Lunch will be provided, so please register at Pollinator Health Meetings and indicate which event you will be attending for us to appropriately supply refreshments. 

Date: March 5, 2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Location: Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center, 6686 S Center Hwy, Traverse City, MI 49684
Contact: Duke Elsner, phone: 231-922-4822, email: elsner@msu.edu  

Date: March 7, 2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Location: MSU Extension Ottawa County Office, 12220 Fillmore Street, West Olive, MI 49460
Contact: Carlos Garcia-Salazar, phone: 616-994-4580, email: garcias4@msu.edu 

Date: March 11, 2019
Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Location: Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center, 3775 S Reese Rd, Frankenmuth, MI 48734
Contact: Ben Phillips, phone: 989-758-2502, email: phill406@msu.edu 

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