The Sustainable Agriculture & Forestry Scholarship Endowment Fund

Pollinators are Dying Off

The Problems

“Bees at the Brink”

A Star Tribune 32 page report

Here is a PBS report on how “Loss of honey bees and other pollinators could mean malnutrition for millions around the world,”

What are pollinators

and why do they matter?

Pollinators are vital to ecological health and stability, the food system and our national economy. Multitudes of plants depend on pollinating animals, including key fruit and vegetable crops. Pollinators can include ants, honeybees, native bees, birds, bats, butterflies, lizards and numerous other insects.

This variety in pollinators helps sustain the U.S. agriculture sector and keep key fruits, vegetables and nuts in American diets. In fact, pollinators contribute more than $24 billion to the U.S. economy, with $15 billion coming from honeybees alone. According to the Agricultural Research Service, in U.S. diets roughly one mouthful in three directly or indirectly benefits from honeybee production. Given the dependence on pollinators for crop production, reduced honeybee and pollinator populations pose a serious risk to domestic agriculture, ecological health and the U.S. economy.

What is the Current

Pollinator Crisis?

Pollinator populations in the U.S. have been falling for decades. Domestic managed honeybee populations dropped from 6 million colonies in 1947 to 2.5 million currently, and the Monarch butterfly migration is at risk of a failed migration. While no single factor is causing the current crisis, a combination of stressors contribute to the declining populations. Inadequate diets, natural habitat loss, mite infestations (such as the Varroa mite), diseases, loss of genetic diversity and exposure to potentially harmful pesticides all contribute to population losses.

Insects decline dramatically in

German nature reserves: study

October 18, 2017

Researchers in Germany have documented a steep decline in flying insects at dozens of nature reserves in the past three decades, and agricultural pesticides may be to blame, said a study Wednesday. While it is well documented that butterflies and bees have been disappearing in Europe and North America, the study in PLOS ONE is the first to document that flying insects in general have decreased by more than three-quarters across Germany since 1989.

Researchers are concerned because insects are important pollinators and also a key part of the food chain, serving as meals for birds and other small creatures.

"The fact that flying insects are decreasing at such a high rate in such a large area is an even more alarming discovery," said lead researcher Hans de Kroon of Radboud University.

Read more at:

Pollinator are needed for food production—

But they are dying at a high rate

Understanding WHY also leads to


Everyone can contribute to the solution.

Here is but three resource guides provided by visitors to this site:

Most recently here are two links provided by Nicole, participant in the Lakeville Nature Conservancy program in Michigan and member of her Citizen Science Club at her local high school: -- A wonderful overview for creating pollinator gardens for butterflies, birds, bees and even bats! -- This one is a fantastic collection of information for gardening for birds and other pollinators. It even includes information on building bird-feeders and shelters and general bird watching basics.

An earlier link was brought to my attention by Casey, a young member of an environmental club in Bay Minette, Alabama. She had visited this web site as part of her research and found it very helpful and also found the following site which contains a comprehensive list of references to resources and ideas:

Casey’s recommendation

This second guide is specific to Southeast Minnesota:

Pollinator Friendly Planting Guide for SE MN

.More than one third of the fruits and vegetables we depend on for a healthy life depend on pollinators. If we don’t have pollinators, these foods don’t grow.

To learn more, watch this excellent Ted Talk presented by Marla Spivak of the University of Minnesota:

Marla Spivak: Why bees are disappearing | TED Talk | TED ...

This is a link to a Minnesota DNR website addressing pollinator habitat needs and what we can all do..2 It contains lots of links to more information.

And share this report with your local county offiocials: “DNR Pollinator Best Management Practices and Habitat Restoration Guidelines..2 ”

Newsletter No. 9 published June 2019 contains articles about the disappearing pollinators. Below are links to headlines and articles quoted in this issue.

92% of North American BIrds depend on insects

7 Things You Can Do for Pollinators

More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying

insect biomass in protected areas

Kjente fuglearter i ferd med å forsvinne

—OK, so this is in Norwegian but is shows how widespread these issue are!

”The Insect Apocalypse Is Here“ from the New York Times

Wild bees losing out to corn in

Minnesota and Upper Midwest, says U of

Vermont study

World food supply relies on biodiversity, now declining at a disturbing pace

Seeds of Change article contains the story about Ruth Rabinowitz farm land restoration which can be found on page 8. This link downloads a pdf of the Environmental Defense Fund’s newsletter Solutions

This website provides in-depth information about pollinators

Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers