CATCH THE BUZZ February 1, 2017
Best management practices (BMPs) are intended to inform the horticulture industry about how to minimize negative impacts on the environment.
BMPs are intended to inform horticultural professionals about the green industry’s impact on bee health. Through the use of BMP guidelines, horticulture can continue to play an important role in pollinator health.
In 2015, the Horticultural Research Institute recognized the need for sound research to develop best production and management practices, educate, and empower the green industry. HRI, in collaboration with AmericanHort, continues to directly fund and leverage research to refine science-based guidance on horticultural practices and protecting bee and pollinator health. As part of the broad-based Horticulture Industry Bee & Pollinator Stewardship Initiative that includes industry and consumer outreach and the establishment of industry best practices, HRI has directly funded four important research projects, launched the Grow Wise, Bee Smart website, and joined the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge campaign.
Jon Reelhorn, HRI President, states, “Investment in research surrounding horticulture’s role in pollinator health is part of HRI’s longstanding commitment to fostering new information relevant to horticultural practices, techniques, and principles. We are pleased to have developed a set of BMPs that offer specific guidance to the industry to refine their stewardship role in bee health.”
Pollinators as a whole encompass a diverse population of thousands of different species, such as managed honey bees, wild bees, butterflies, birds, and bats. Protection of pollinators in general, especially bees, continues to be a major concern among the general public and within the green industry. Several culprits have been identified as factors contributing to managed honey bee losses, including Varroa mites, other pests/diseases of bees, loss of habitat and nutrition, and off-target effects of pesticides. Alternatively, wild, unmanaged bee populations are most greatly affected by landscape changes and habitat degradation.
HRI developed the BMPs, which cover greenhouse and nursery production, woody ornamentals, and managed landscapes, with the assistance of researchers and apiarists throughout North America. Updates to these recommendations will be made as additional research results regarding bee and pollinator health are released.
For the full Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Bee Health in the Horticultural Industry, visit the GrowWise, Bee Smart website. http://growwise.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/FAQ_Card.pdf