The causes of pollinator decline have been well-documented, but research at Ohio State University’s Muck Farm near Willard, Ohio, is trying a new approach of putting pollinator habitat in strips among the vegetable crops.
“Can we see an increase in bee numbers? Can we see an increase in the types and diversity of wild bees in areas where muck soils predominate?” asked Elizabeth Long, assistant professor in Ohio State University’s Entomology Department. “If we make these resources available, will they come? Will these fields be more attractive to bees?”
The concept has some hurdles. Muck soil is extremely valuable and growers want every acre in production. There’s also the issue of putting bee habitat in the middle of intensively-managed crops. “Attracting bees into this area is risky because vegetables are intensively managed and lots of chemicals are used,” Long said.