Pollinator Week is June 20-27, and the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association is promoting the efforts of farmers, bee keepers and scientists in protecting the health and habitat of pollinators. Honey bees support billions of dollars in U.S. and Canadian agriculture. In fact, about one-third of the food we eat every day relies on honey bee pollination services to some degree. While corn does not require pollination by honey bees, WCGA recognizes the integral role they play in a productive agriculture system and we are committed to improving the health and viability of honey bees.
Corn growers are committed to controlling crop pests while helping safeguard pollinator health. Honey bee health is a complex issue affected by numerous factors including threats from pests such as the Varroa mite, disease, nutrition, pesticide exposure, weather, and hive management.
A recent Wisconsin Ag Statistics report said bee colonies in Wisconsin were up 33 percent in the first part of the year compared to last year, and that Varroa mites were the number one stressor for operations-not pesticides.
Strategies to a healthy future for our environment and pollinators must be based on sound scientific information. There are alarmist groups who ignore this science and blame agriculture for declines in pollinator populations. A recent paper called “’Beepocalypse’ Not,” provides a perspective on how potential bans and restrictions on a class of pesticides called “neonicotinoids” could do more harm than good for honeybees.
The author said that “The best solutions will strike a balance that recognizes the value of targeted and managed use of agrochemicals and minimizes any impact on commercially farmed honeybees and wildlife. Such policies can only be pursued when we dispense with misinformed alarmism and focus on science-based solutions and productive collaboration.”
Pollinator Protection Resources:
WCGA Pollinator Guide with ideas and best management practices for corn growers to enhance pollinator habitat.
Growers Role Ensuring Honey Bee Health on Working Agricultural Lands guide from the Honey Bee Health Coalition.