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The Northeast Pollinator Partnership
will create a deeper understanding of the biodiversity, abundance, and value of wild bees.

Learn More

The Project

Our studies indicate that wild bees are playing
a major role in apple pollination.

Project lead, Bryan Danforth, describes this citizen science project which is designed to have a major impact on how apple growers manage the pollination of their orchards.

Learn About the Research

A special thanks to our funding partners:

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Wild bees are more abundant than honey bees in many orchards.

The Research

Apple growers vary widely in their reliance on honey bees, but the decision about whether to use them is not always based on empirical data. We’re working to change that.

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This citizen science project allows us to gather and analyze data on the temporal and geographic patterns of apple bloom and the abundance of wild and managed bees at orchards across the Northeast.

In return, we will provide informed advice to apple growers about effective pollinator management.

Learn About the Benefits

Some wild bee species are more effective pollinators on a per-visit basis than honey bees.

The Benefits

We’ll share our data with apple growers, allowing them to make more informed decisions about pollination and pest management.

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We’ll also provide ways for the public to interact and learn from our findings, including:

 
  • insights into the relationship between apple fruit set and wild bee abundance,
  • strategies for conservation of wild pollinators,
  • and the challenges of sustainable apple orchard management.
 

I’m an apple grower

Increased wild bee diversity and abundance leads to improved seed and fruit set in apples.

Apple Growers

If you are an apple grower in the northeastern United States,
we need your help!

Participating in our project will be simple: we’ll provide clear instructions and simple survey tools; you’ll contribute 15 minutes of your time during the flowering season.

  • Basics slideshow

    There are over 450 species of wild bees in New York state alone. Over 100 of these contribute to apple pollination in the Northeast.

  • Basics slideshow

    Traditionally, orchard managers have relied on imported European honey bees for pollination. Since 2007, declines in honey bees due to colony collapse disorder have created a need for alternative pollination practices.

  • Basics slideshow

    In New York State, apple growers vary widely in their reliance on honey bees for successful apple pollination but the decision about whether to use honey bees is not always based on empirical data.

  • Basics slideshow

    The peak of apple bloom is shifting earlier over time. This project will allow us to gather baseline data on shifts in apple flowering times across the Northeast.

Your participation will allow us to provide you with specific recommendations for how best to manage your pollination needs.

We hope to be able to reduce your costs and improve your pollination efficiency. You’ll also have access to data about bloom patterns and climate across the region that can inform your practices in the coming years.

We’ll help you to make more informed decisions about whether to purchase, rent, or borrow honey bees for apple pollination. And, in many instances, we may help you eliminate the need to rely on honey bees at all.

Would you like to participate?

Apple flowering is an ideal indicator of shifts in flowering patterns across the eastern US.

Next steps

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The Pollinator Partnership Team

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Bryan Danforth

Project Leader

Developed sampling protocols and communication materials, communicates with apple growers and external partners, and overseeing the project.

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Maria VanDyke

Outreach Support Specialist

Communicates with project participants and developes training and educational materials for the website and project participants.

Wild bees are more abundant than honey bees
in many orchards.

Outreach Partners

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