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Workshop Educates About Value of Pollinators

Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission - Friday, September 26, 2014

Samantha Scheiman, ANHC grants coordinator, recently attended a Pollinator Workshop at the Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center in Booneville. As ANHC’s butterfly “expert,” she attended the workshop to learn more about other Arkansas pollinators and how to identify them. 

ANHC's Samantha Scheiman with a net to capture bees.

Pollinators are animals that move pollen grains from one flower to another of the same species (or within a single flower), leading to fertilization. Most pollinators are beneficial insects such as flies, beetles, bees, wasps, ants, butterflies, and moths.
In the U.S. , pollination produces nearly $20 billion worth of products annually. Worldwide, approximately 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend. A dramatic example of what happens when the pollinators disappear comes from the apple and pear orchards of south west China, where wild bees have been eradicated by excessive pesticide use and a lack of natural habitat. In recent years, farmers have been forced to hand-pollinate their trees, carrying pots of pollen and paintbrushes to complete the painstaking and costly work of pollinating each individual flower.
Scheiman learned about pollinator identification, received an overview of native bee species in Arkansas, and learned about the harmful effects of neonicotinoids and strategies for eliminating the usage of these insecticides. She also reviewed Farm Bill programs that support the creation and maintenance of pollinator habitat. 

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