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The Buzz on Pollinators

We are working with farmers to increase pollinator habitat.

Click here to learn more about the many benefits pollinators provide.

The results are in! Our team of scientists and economists has completed their wild pollinator study. We focused on the role of wild pollinators (also called native pollinators) such as bumble bees, squash bees and orchard bees and wanted to know: How much are native pollinators benefiting agriculture?

It turns out that wild pollinators contribute annually $35 million to tomato, blueberry, melon, soybean, cucumber, squash, apple, peach, and bell pepper yields in New Jersey. Yet today, wild pollinator populations are in sharp decline. Habitat loss, pesticide use, and disease are threatening our bee populations worldwide. If farmers were to counter this trend by planting new native pollinator habitat, we hypothesized that the increase in yields – and therefore revenues – would cover the costs of implementation. Indeed, for nearly every crop in the analysis, farmers will see an increase in gross revenues, even after implementation costs are subtracted.

The benefits will vary depending upon two factors: which crops are grown, and how much wild pollinator habitat has already been lost surrounding agricultural fields. The first link shows the results of a spatial analysis of native pollinator habitat loss. Click on the second link for the full results from the economic analysis of the 10 crops.
 

For more information, please refer to additional crop-specific fact sheets and NJ county maps below. Please contact us for higher resolution maps or for maps of additional counties at njpollinators@tnc.org. Keep in mind the following, as you explore the maps:

  • If your agricultural production is located in a region on the map labeled as “highest loss,” these are the areas most recommended for planting wild pollinator habitat.
  • One trend is that many areas with the highest loss of pollination are areas with the most agricultural production. This makes sense, because areas of land in the center of a large agricultural expanse are not typically good wild pollinator habitat.

Michigan State University developed a interesting example with great before and after images that uses field research to link planting pollinator habitat with an increase in crop yields.

You can help support bee conservation in New Jersey. There are simple steps you can take to enhance pollinator habitat in your backyard.

This study is co-funded by the William Penn Foundation and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). We welcome any comments, questions or feedback to be directed to njpollinators@tnc.org.


Additional Resources

Native Pollinators and Bell Peppers Fact Sheet

Native Pollinators and Blueberries Fact Sheet

Native Pollinators and Cucumbers Fact sheet

Native Pollinators and Melons Fact Sheet

Native Pollinators and Squash Fact Sheet

Native Pollinators and Tomatoes Fact Sheet

Native Pollinators and Tree Fruits Fact Sheet

Native Pollinators and Agricultural Production

Native Pollinator Habitat Loss Map: Atlantic County

Native Pollinator Habitat Loss Map: Cape May County

Native Pollinator Habitat Loss Map: Cumberland County

Native Pollinator Habitat Loss Map: Gloucester County

Native Pollinator Habitat Loss Map: Hunterdon County

Native Pollinator Habitat Loss Map: Salem County

Native Pollinator Habitat Loss Map: Somerset County

Native Pollinator Habitat Loss Map: Warren County

Native Pollinator Habitat Loss Map: Statewide 

For information about planting pollinator habitat on your farm, visit the Natural Resources Conservation Service

Visit the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station website for more information on native pollinators

The Xerces Society also provides information on native pollinators in the northeastern United States

 

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