|Syrphid fly feeding on False Dandelion|
It’s an often-overlooked fact that tree farmers that encourage native weeds and groundcovers among their tree fields are supporting these critically important creatures. In the tree field, pollinators feed on the nectar and pollen in flowering weeds, and they make their nests, often in the soil but occasionally in dead branches or decaying stumps. All of these are very positive interactions in the tree field. The situation becomes more complicated when growers reach IPM thresholds that determine a need to control insect pests with pesticide applications. Just about any pesticide, organic or otherwise, is toxic to bees. So tree growers have a very difficult situation to deal with: treating for insect pests that damage their trees while also wanting to protect pollinator populations.
The goal of this study is to develop best management practices specific to the Christmas tree industry on pollinator protection and conservation. It will also help educate tree growers and beekeepers alike on how to best work together to sustain pollinators.