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Feb 4, 2021
MSU publishes pollinator stewardship guide for blueberry growers

Honey bee pollinating a blueberry blossom. Photo by Rufus Isaacs, MSU Entomology.

The Blueberry Pollinator Stewardship Guide was developed as part of a strategy to reduce pollinator exposure to pesticides identified in the Michigan Managed Pollinator Protection Plan. Growers are in a unique position to help pollinators because of the amount of land they manage and can make a big difference by reducing or mitigating the harmful effects of pesticides on pollinators and increasing flowering plants on their land. The Blueberry Pollinator Stewardship Guide provides helpful information on how growers can protect managed pollinators from pesticide poisoning and support pollinator health.

The Blueberry Pollinator Stewardship Guide provides key recommendations to blueberry growers for protecting their investment in pollination:

  • Use integrated pest management strategies to reduce pesticide exposure to bees.
  • Minimize the use of insecticides and fungicides during bloom.
  • Support bee health by establishing bee foraging plantings on your farm.
  • Learn about bees and share what you know.
  • Communicate with your beekeeper about bee health and pesticides.

Michigan blueberry growers, commercial beekeepers, Michigan State University Extension educators and specialists and others contributed to the recommendations in the guide. Recommendations in the guide were also presented to blueberry growers at the MSU Extension Blueberry Kick Off Meeting in April 2020, the Michigan Blueberry Commission meeting in October 2020 and the Great Lakes Expo in December 2020.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development secured partial funding for Ana Heck to take the lead on ensuring we are working on action items in the Michigan Managed Pollinator Protection Plan. Growers can find detailed recommendations about how to help and support pollinators in the Blueberry Pollinator Stewardship Guide.

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