Pollinator Protection

Most flowering plants need pollination to reproduce and grow fruit. While some plants are pollinated by wind, many require assistance from insects and other animals. Most people are aware of managed honey bees, but there are also over 400 wild pollinator species in New York State, including bees, wasps, beetles, flies, ants, moths, and butterflies. In the absence of these pollinators, many plant species, including the fruits and vegetables we eat, would fail to reproduce. These include economically important crops in the state, such as apples, blueberries, cherries, tomatoes, squash, and peppers, all of which are pollinator-dependent for good yields.

Both wild and managed bees are facing threats that can alter their health, abundance, and distribution. According to the 2016 New York State Pollinator Protection Plan, “Over the past several years, the loss of managed pollinator colonies in the state has exceeded 50%. This is coupled with losses in the native pollinator community and the habitat that sustains them.” Research indicates that some pesticides can be harmful for pollinators and can have negative effects at the sub-individual level (such as gene expression or physiology), individual level (such as mortality, foraging, or learning), or even the colony level (such as colony growth, overwintering, or honey production).

Because of the potential for non-target effects of products used in golf course management, pesticide applicators need to be mindful of the impact that pesticides have on pollinator species and their habitat. In addition to adhering to best management practices related to pesticide applications, golf course managers can protect and enhance habitat on the course in a number of ways to help both wild pollinators and managed bees (including hives on the course or in surrounding areas).

For more information, see the following:

wild pollinatorBoth domestic honey bees and any one of the 400+ species of wild pollinators in New York State may forage on flowering plants on or near golf courses.