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What steps can I take to help the bees and other pollinators?

Habitat destruction along with chemical use are major contributors to ongoing declines in pollinator populations. You can help reverse this troubling trend by planting a pollinator garden and limiting chemical use on your property.

Plant a pollinator garden
To help bees, butterflies and other pollinators visiting your backyard, you can plant a pollinator garden!  Pollinator gardens provide a safe haven for pollinators as well as a beautiful garden that you can enjoy. Some of the features of pollinator gardens include: 1) native floral resources that bloom throughout the growing season so that there is always nectar and pollen available to pollinators, 2) nesting habitat for pollinators and 3) water resources. These gardens also serve as a refuge from pesticide and other chemical exposure and provide a habitat with native plants.  Gardening associations can provide guidance on the best plants and features to include in gardens for your geographic region. Some may also provide certification that your garden is pollinator friendly.


Minimize pesticide and other chemical use on your property
Pesticides, fungicides and herbicides are intended to kill pest insect, plant pathogens and weeds. Unfortunately, use of these chemicals may have unintended, negative effects on beneficial insects and plants. To reduce off-target damage, limit chemical use on your property. If you do plan to spray, make sure to follow label instructions and do not spray plants when they are in bloom since pollinators will be attracted to the flowers.

Penn State recognizes that a balance must be struck between managing agricultural pest populations while fostering pollinator health. Penn State researchers are developing Integrated Pest and Pollinator Management (IPPM) strategies. For more information, check out the Growers section of the website.

Become a beekeeper
If you would like to learn how to manage honey bees, Penn State offers an award winning online course, Beekeeping 101. Also, joining a local beekeeping organization is a great way to meet individuals who can provide hands-on help and share their knowledge of and experiences with beekeeping. If you’re in Centre County, check out the Centre County beekeepers association.  

For more beekeeping information, check Resources for Beekeepers.

Support the Center for Pollination Research
The center for pollinator research is committed to developing and implementing integrative, multidisciplinary approaches to improving pollinator health, conservation, and management for ecosystems services through research, education, outreach and policy. If you are interested in donating, please visit our Funding and Gifts webpage.  Your donation is greatly appreciated.