10 Aimee Code – Using Pesticides around Bee Habitat (in English)

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Speaker 1: From the Oregon State University Extension Service, this is Pollination, a podcast that tells the stories of researchers, land managers, and concerned citizens making bold strides to improve the health of pollinators. I'm your host, Dr. Adoni Melopoulos, assistant professor in pollinator health in the Department of Horticulture. I think a lot of people are aware that we need to protect pollinators from pesticides, but today's episode goes a little bit deeper to thinking about the habitat that pollinators use, how to prevent exposure from pesticides in that habitat specifically.

And I'm really excited to have with us a May Code who's the pesticide program director at the Zersey Society for Invertebrate Conservation. This episode is packed with some very practical suggestions, so make sure to have your notebook ready and there's going to be some great resources linked in the show notes. Enjoy the episode. I'm really excited today to have a May Code on the Pollination Podcast. Welcome, Amai.

Speaker 2: Thank you. It's great to be here. I'm so glad you invited me.

Speaker 1: Well, we're really excited here at Pollination. A lot of our listeners know about Zersey's and you're our first Zersey's member to be on the podcast, but for those of our listeners who don't know that much about Zersey's, could you tell us a little bit about what Zersey's does and maybe what personally drew you to working with Zersey's? Absolutely.

Speaker 2: The Zersey Society is a small, medium-sized conservation organization that instead of working on those high-profile, iconic species, gets down into the ground and works on the foundation. We're working to protect invertebrates, really the base that sustains all of life. The animals that at best go unnoticed and at worst are considered pests, but we like to tell the story of just how amazing and the ecosystem services that these invertebrates provide.

Speaker 1: Those services that they provide, even though most people don't notice them, are essential to life. Absolutely.

Speaker 2: I think with the crisis for our pollinators, more and more people are beginning to understand the benefits that invertebrates have. That's one plus two, the tragedy that we're seeing and the issues that we're seeing around our pollinators.

I think what you asked me also, what drew me to Zersey's, is that I would say there's really two parts. First, they love to tackle problems at their depth and the approach conservation with an eye for responding to the needs that scientists demonstrated. I really appreciate that style. The other thing that I think is so valuable about Zersey's is that we are open to working with and creating bridges with many different stakeholders. We reach out to so many different diverse audiences in order to find solutions that are going to work. I really appreciate the collaborative nature of Zersey's.

Speaker 1: That's wonderful. It brings us to one of the reasons we wanted to have you on the show today is talk a little bit about Zersey's initiatives working with farmers to become better stewards of pollinators. Clearly, Zersey's has such depth and experience of working with farmers. Maybe some people who think about the conservation side don't realize immediately how deep that knowledge goes. But maybe just to put it into context, why is Zersey so interested in farm management practices? What does it mean for overall pollinator health?

Speaker 2: Well, if we take a step back, we realize that about half of the US land base is agriculture. And recognizing that, we realize that there's a lot of opportunity in agriculture to respond to the risks that pollinators are posing. And on the alternate side, agriculture being such a huge part of our landscape, if we aren't taking the steps we need to protect pollinators, there's also a real risk that the pollinators could face if we aren't creating agricultural systems that are beneficial and helpful for pollinators.

So they really have this ability to really make a difference in either direction and swing the pendulum. That's I think part of the reason that we are working in agriculture. Also obviously, pollination service is so vitally important for agriculture. So there's such a strong link there that it makes a lot of sense. It's the benefit of so many farmers to have pollination service.

Speaker 1: Well, the link is really interesting. And I think it seems like a straightforward proposition that farmers could get services back to their farm, especially if they're growing pollinator-dependent crops by being stewards. Can you tell us a little bit about when we look at an agricultural landscape and let's say we're taking the perspective of a farmer, where would they see that pollinator habitat? What does that habitat even look like on a farm, perhaps here in Oregon? And yeah, tell us a little bit about what they should be looking out for, what you're helping them sort of recognize is habitat.

Speaker 2: The reality is everything is place-based when we're looking in agriculture. And so on every farm, it's going to be different. And something I really appreciate about CERSIS is we go out to those farms and find what makes sense for each farm for pollinator habitat. But there are some base components that we need to see for any habitat. And I'll start by talking about the, you know, we're trying to create permanent habitat for our native bees. So along with providing forage for the European honeybee, we also need to create nesting habitat for our native bees. So when we go in and are looking for habitat, we're looking for an area where we can allow, we're going to be able to have ground nesting bees be able to nest there, where our tunnel nesting and wood nesting bees also are going to be able to find a place to create habitat. We're going to also need, because these bees don't move around, they're not like honeybees that are picked up and put in another spot, we need floral resources or flowers blooming throughout the season when bees might be there and foraging. And obviously, you know, I work in the pesticide program as there's these, we need that habitat to be safe from harmful pesticide exposures.

Speaker 1: Well, we'll talk about, I'd like to come back to that specific part, because I think that's an area where, you know, I'd really like to drill into a little bit more in the podcast. But just to round out that, that for a lot of people, I imagine, you know, some of this stuff might not appear as habitat to them. What are successful strategies of, you know, to farmers who are really skilled at doing all sorts of things? How do you take that skill and train them to recognize, oh, there's those ground nesting bees over there, or there's a piece of flowering, there's a succession of floral resources that if I had would really help these bees have good reproductive outcomes. How do you help them see?

Speaker 2: Well, oftentimes, really, what we're doing is we're working with those farmers to find where they can install habitat. We also are looking, what do you already have? What resources already exist on that farm? But, you know, one of the things that Xerces has done is over the last decade, we've helped install more than 450,000 acres of habitat.

Wow. Part of programs that will put that in place. So really, absolutely, we are wanting to help farmers identify what's already on the farm, but even more so because so many of our farms have increased the amount of monocropping and have decreased other habitat, we're working to put that habitat back in place and install habitat. So at that time, we work with the farmer and work in that for that region.

What are the plants that are going to be most useful and beneficial for that farm? We even go so far as to ensure that we are reducing floral flowers from blooming during the time when their crop is blooming, so there's not competition. So we really do hone into that particular farmer's needs.

Speaker 1: Yeah, and really an attention to those, the area and the crop. I mean, I think for listeners who are interested and will include some links, there's some really great regionally specific strategies that Xerces provides for creating floral resources.

All right, well, welcome back. I want to talk about this new Xerces publication, Guidance to Protect Habitat from Pesticide Contamination. Now, there's all sorts of other publications that focus on preventing pesticide exposure to managed pollinators like honeybees, but this publication is really unique in that it focused on habitat. What prompted the shift to focus on from honeybees visiting a sprayed crop to pesticides and pollinator habitat?

Speaker 2: You know, what we've seen over the last couple years is a huge amount of momentum to install habitat. It's clear that our honeybees as well as our native bees and our butterflies are lacking for diverse forage. And so we're really pushing to increase habitat. And within that, I think Xerces felt that the discussion on ensuring that that habitat was protected from harmful pesticide exposures was lacking.

And that's why we pulled this piece together. In order to provide the insights so that when we create this valuable habitat, it doesn't end up end up a sink for our pollinators where they're actually going to end up being harmed by exposures that we weren't expected.

Speaker 1: And it just seems as well. Going hand in hand with that is that farmers are a lot more aware of the value of wild pollinators. There's been study after study showing wild pollinators contributing to fruit set or seed set. So I can imagine that farmers have been wanting to know what to do when they're considering habitat. How do I manage it?

Speaker 2: Yes, you're absolutely right. Spot on the interesting creating a habitat that's going to create your produce your own pollinators so you are less dependent on having to cart in pollinators from another area. So if you can create your territory for those pollinators, all the better. But then you need to think about how do I create that habitat while I also am managing pests in a crop right next door? Because many of these native pollinators have a very short range they're going to travel. And so you're going to have to put habitat relatively close to the crop in order to have them benefit that crop,

Speaker 1: which I guess opens up the whole issue of drift. If you're a plot, if someone was applying a pesticide and it you can have very pristine excellent habitat and then suddenly high levels of mortality if that pesticide contacts that habitat.

Speaker 2: Yeah, and it's not as simple as just worrying about a bloom time exposure because all of a sudden with native bees, we have to recognize that these are bees that are going to be in that spot for the whole year.

If not as adults foraging, you're going to have larvae that are going to be ground nesting throughout the year. And so we need to be thinking about exposures beyond just those bloom time exposures. And we're seeing a lot of new science that's showing that unfortunately, habitat right next to agricultural fields can be contaminated with multiple pesticides and pesticides at levels that if not causing direct mortality could be harming those bees to the extent where you're still seeing population level effects down the road. Maybe they're not going to kill a bumblebee, but all of a sudden when that bumblebee is hibernating, that queen is hibernating in the winter, there might be an increased risk of mortality at that time or a reduction in other issues.

Speaker 1: No, no, that's just makes it ever more complicated. It seems like I can see the real need for a guidance document just because it seems like even, I guess a lot of us have been trained to think about honeybees and the honeybees, as you point out, they come in, they do the pollination and they leave that area. And downstream pesticide exposure, we may not think about because the honeybees have moved out.

But here, as you point out, they don't live like honeybees. You have soil nesting bees and I guess when we're thinking about honeybees, amount of pesticide exposure in soil is not something that we take into account.

Speaker 2: And with the increasing use of systemic insecticides, we're seeing a greater likelihood of there being soil contamination and exposures. I mean, whether it be a coated seed that's planted or maybe a soil wrench that's the plan is to have it be uptaken by the roots of that plant. All of a sudden, we're putting that larva and those eggs at risk of an exposure that wouldn't have been the case when more of the applications were foliar applications with a contact exposure concern.

Speaker 1: OK, so with all of these complications, what are some common roots of pesticide exposure when a farmer is thinking about all of these different dimensions? What are the kind of recommendations? What should they be focusing on? What can they do to minimize this exposure risk?

Speaker 2: OK, well, you asked first about some of the pathways for exposure. And I'll try not to laugh because you said with all these complications because the reality with the way chemicals move, there isn't a simple answer. And every chemical has its own unique characteristics. But when we're thinking about pesticides moving from agricultural fields to to pollinated habitats, some of the main routes that we want to be aware of.

So I was walking on a farm with a farmer. I'd be talking to them about the potential for, you know, runoff and movement into especially with the systemic chemicals, whether they be a fungicide or insecticide, where they could be running off and uptaken by plants. I'd be talking about drift as well as volatilization. So drift is going to move and the amount tapers off the farther you away.

But when something volatilizes, it's resettling in a new place. And leaching is another issue that we're thinking about. You know, a lot of these chemicals might leach into the soil and then slowly move into habitat. So those are some of the some of the ways that chemicals can move. And it really depends on the chemical. You know, pyrethroid is going to bind into soil and and then you might have a worry about it.

You know, moving with that soil somewhere. And the nicotinoid is going to is water loving. It's going to bind with that water and then move with water. Now we know that the chemicals can move into the habitat.

How do we minimize it? There's two parts to protecting habitat. One, we need to be thinking about those long term, the long term view. How do we create more resilient farming practices and farms that they were minimizing the risks of pests coming in and then we can minimize the amount of pesticides being used.

So that's kind of the long term goal, really creating new systems that are more beneficial. And then the short term, we need to be mitigating the risks that are that we have because of the chemicals that we are currently using.

Speaker 1: And I can and when it comes to it seems like the simplest way, given all the complications that you were talking about with the roots of exposure is to minimize the pesticide use. If one can really be judicious in their pesticide use, then all of these things, which just seem so complicated and have I think you were talking about just a few minutes ago, these effects that are lingering and not easily quantifiable in risk assessment. The easiest way to get around this seems to be being very careful with your pesticide use.

Speaker 2: Yeah, I just read a great study that really showed that. So these researchers looked at a number of farms and what they found was that for the majority of the farms, pesticide use could be significantly reduced without any effect on yield. And so one of the things that Xerces really talks about is making sure you have a justifiable use, a demonstrable need for that chemical before you go and use it. Instead of just saying, oh, I know this is a possible pest that arrives at this time of year, I'm prepared and I'm treating for it. But really actually document, you know, if this is a big part of integrated pest management, right, where you actually go out and monitor, you scout, you know what kind of insects are on your farm and you know when you do need to take action because they could actually cause economic harm.

Speaker 1: It seems like such a simple way to go about doing things is if they are below a threshold and you have no other way of dealing with it, then you have a justifiable...

There's a kind of a warrant for it. But if you don't even know if the levels have gotten to a damaging point, it seems like with all the potential environmental impacts.

Speaker 2: It seems simple, but it is actually really challenging. But I think it is the once you get oriented into that mindset for responding to pests, it is an excellent way to be considering your pesticide use.

There's so many different mitigation measures, and I think everyone needs to pull what makes more sense for them. I heard a farmer the other day speaking, and the way he put it was that he needed to reorientate his own thinking. He used to work to deter insects from being on his farm. He saw insects as a problem, and now he's working to support beneficial insects. It's a complete shift in his thinking over the last five years. If you can start thinking about the value of so many insects instead of the harm of those small percentage that are pests, it really can help make a change.

As far as some really concrete changes that people can do, it was. He was a wonderful farmer, actually. He's in the Midwest, though. A lot of what his work now is to improve soil health. I think a big part of taking action to ensure that you've got healthy farms that can support pollinators is improving the resiliency of your farm, resiliency, and the health of those plants. Also, the reality is, is we're going to be using chemicals we should recognize as the priority concerns. If we're going to be using a broad-spectrum insecticide, we need to recognize that broad-spectrum insecticide very likely could cause harm to a pollinator, especially if it's going to be used in close proximity to that habitat.

So recognizing that concern, potentially creating a spatial or a physical buffer. So you actually can plant plants that are not particularly pollinator attractive that would minimize the amount of drift that would move into pollinator habitat. You can also think about your timing for these applications and not time them so that you're not applying during bloom and minimizing the potential that a pollinator would be exposed.

Speaker 1: Second to the last point, it was interesting because oftentimes we think about planting for habitat for pollinators, but the idea of planting non-attractive plants to... Because I guess you don't want the bees to visit your buffer.

Speaker 2: Right. That's exactly what it is. Yeah. And a lot of people would like... I'm all for multi-use when we can find a multi-use, but if we're going to be creating a buffer to minimize pesticides from moving into habitat, we can't... You can't create habitat to be catching drift. So some farmers are looking at actually putting in drift barriers, depending on what kind of chemicals they're using.

And something else I like to... When I think about priority pesticides and priority concerns, I talked about broad spectrum insecticides. Those are insecticides that would kill a large number. They're not targeted to a specific type of pest.

The neonicotinoids have received a lot of conversation and a lot of study recently. And one of the reasons is they're not just broad spectrum insecticides. They're also very long-lived. And so a pollinator could have an exposure for a very long time.

So I think we need to really take a step back. If we're looking at a long-lived pesticide, it's much harder to avoid risk to pollinators when that exposure could be happening over weeks or months. So that's something... And they're also systemic, which creates a direct exposure route because the chemical is uptaken by the plant and is expressed in pollinate nectar. And in some of the studies we're seeing, that expression happening months to years after the application occurred.

Speaker 1: So broad spectrum persistent and systemic is just a very bad combination when it comes to pollinators?

Speaker 2: Yes, well said. I also like to share the story of that risk isn't simple. And it's not just about avoiding highly toxic chemicals during bloom. This growing body of science that is showing the concerns that fungicides have for pollinators. And what's really interesting is most of these fungicides are classified as practically non-toxic. If you pick up a product, you're not going to see a sign that shows a risk to pollinators or to bees. And now we're seeing that some of these fungicides are causing effects similar to malnutrition. A new study that came out recently looked at honeybees. And there was a link between the colonies that had high fungicide levels. Certain groupings of fungicides were also the same colonies that were more likely to experience summer die off.

So all of a sudden, these chemicals that potentially are practically non-toxic because it takes a lot to kill a bee might be having some other effect that are causing significant concern. So that's again, we go back to why do over the long haul do we want to avoid use? Because sometimes we can't understand the risk on the front end.

Speaker 1: Understandably, when we're talking about the complications of the exposure roots, it stands to reason that there are going to be an unanticipated consequences that risk assessment may not be able to fully anticipate.

Speaker 2: Yeah. That's very much the case. These systems are not simple and it's not easy to replicate them.

Speaker 1: So tell us a little bit more about some of the other mitigation measures.

Speaker 2: Just to give you a broad look, when we thought about mitigation measures, the first thing we thought about is how do you select and prepare habitat that can, so that you're avoiding having exposure. And so part of that is looking for places on your farm that are not going to be immediately adjacent to an area where you're going to have heavy pesticide use and making sure you prepare it so that you don't end up needing pesticides in that habitat because you had too many weed seeds or other problems in that area.

All right. Thinking about choosing a place where the soil isn't going to be heavily contaminated with chemicals that might be uptaken or cause harm to the ground nesting bees. So part of the mitigation is really how do you choose where your habitat's going to go. Then as I talked about, we want to reduce reliance as much as possible on pesticides.

So taking that step back, looking at justified demonstrable need, that's a huge step. If we just make sure that when we're using a chemical, we're using it because we have a specific pest in mind and the chemical that we're using is going to be effective tool to manage that pest. And we're taking steps to not have to become reliant on that chemical over time. I mentioned a little bit ago, some of the high hazard pesticide uses including broad spectrum insecticides. We want to avoid pesticide use that could trigger a die-off like those broad spectrum insecticides being used immediately adjacent to where these might be for a chain and nesting.

And minimizing movement of pesticides into habitat. We were just talking about the windbreaks or having a spatial buffer where you have a distance between where an application is happening. Drift, as I mentioned before, tapers off. So the further you are from an application, the lower the levels that are going to settle out.

Speaker 1: Just on that point, when you've walked around and seen some farms, are some farms close to this stage? Is this kind of a distant goal for a lot of farmers or are there farmers who can accomplish this tomorrow?

Speaker 2: There are a lot of farms that can and are accomplishing these kind of goals. And I think, but constantly growing and improving, I think the hardest piece is trying to create, to find that space between putting your habitat close to your crops so that they can act for support pollination, but also minimizing drift and movement on.

That is definitely the biggest challenge. But so many farmers have cut out any pesticide use that aren't demonstrable that they clearly don't need. That's a huge step that I think a growing number of farmers are moving towards. A lot of farmers are timing chemical uses so that they're minimizing exposure.

And they're removing those high-profile, high-priority concern chemicals as well from their suite. And more and more farmers are also implementing practices to minimize the need for pesticides. Rotating crops, increasing the number of beneficial insects. One of the great things about pollinator habitat is with minimal tweaking, it can also be habitat for a number of beneficial insects that act as predators of pests. So you can actually increase your pest management by creating this habitat.

Speaker 1: Oh, multiple purposes coming out of one little habitat area. That's great. I guess just thinking about those other beneficial insects, I guess the last thing I wanted to ask you about is when you pick up a pesticide label, it'll often tell you under environmental hazards the toxicity to honey bees. It doesn't say anything about other bee species.

What does that mean? Is it no effects to other bees? Or could you maybe give our listeners a bit of a, how do we treat that part of the label when we're thinking about other bees?

Speaker 2: The way that our regulatory system works is that we're using the honey bee as a surrogate for other bees. And so the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers, if they understand the risk to honey bees, there's an assumption that it's also going to be of harm to other pollinators. But unfortunately, as we were talking about throughout this conversation, our native bees are not the same as honey bees. And so oftentimes, and native bees can be even a greater risk than our honey bees.

One pretty simple example of that is that honey bees live in these amazing super organisms. You could have 50,000 bees all working together with a single queen that's protected by those workers. Most of our native bees are solitary. So you have a single female that is provisioning her nest. Unlike a honey bee colony, some of those worker bees might be exposed, but that queen is still protected in the nest. If a solitary bee is exposed, her whole nest is incomplete and is lost.

Speaker 1: So the honey bee colony has some, if there's a poisoning event or an exposure event, the beekeeper could intervene and nurse that colony back to health, but that's not the case with a solitary bee.

Speaker 2: And of the 500 or so species we have in Oregon, the vast majority are solitary bees. Even our bumblebees are in very small colonies. Honey bee colonies can be 50,000 bees. Bumblebee colonies are maybe 30 bees at most 400 bees. In the springtime, bumblebee queen, and a lot of people know this, they love to come out in the spring because they see the really big bumblebees. Well, those are the queens because the queens start a whole new colony every spring. And so that queen is out foraging. And again, if she's exposed to that time, we're going to lose that whole colony. All right.

Speaker 1: Well, we are back with the May Code and we ask all our guests the same three questions. So we want to know what you think as well. One of the things that we ask all our guests is whether they've got a favorite or influential book on pollinators, something that they, you know, as a really trusted resource. Is there something that you kind of turn to when you're looking for ideas?

Speaker 2: You know, there's so many books that are out there. Would it be, I hope it's not too offensive if I actually mention Azersi's book. Not at all. Azersi's Society. Good because here's where I go. So I'm the kind of person who during the weekend, I love to be out in my yard and creating pollinator habitat and making my yard more friendly to our native bees. And the book that's been most helpful that gives me really quick, easy ideas is attracting native pollinators. So that would be the book that I would say that I really love. It's my resource guide that I pull out most often.

Speaker 1: It's a really easy to read book and it's so comprehensive at every chapter. It just covers every, from basic biology to sort of what to plant. It's such a great book. That's a great recommendation.

Speaker 2: And it's, and it's done in a way that it's done in small bites. Yeah.

Speaker 1: It doesn't overwhelm you. Yeah. The chapters are small and digestible. I really like that too. That's a great feature of the book.

Speaker 2: Because on the weekend, I don't read dense material.

Speaker 1: Our second question for all our guests is if they've got me for the kind of work that they do with pollinators, is there's a tool that they really rely on that's really useful and they couldn't do without? Do you have a tool like that you could recommend?

Speaker 2: What I want to say is a beautiful butterfly net because I'm out in these spectacular fields. But the reality of my work is probably the most important tool is some of the search engines that we can find online where I can pull all of the latest research on pesticides and pollinators. So I know and have the most up-to-date information on what kind of risks our bees are experiencing and how best to mitigate those risks.

Speaker 1: It must be really hard to keep track of. I mean, especially in the last few years, there's been so much really wonderful work. I myself, do you have any strategies for keeping on top of things? It's such an explosion of work these days.

Speaker 2: There is so much new research. I'm going to, here's another Xerces plug. We are actually wrapping up pulling together a database that has a quick search for, that gives summaries to many of the new studies that have come out. So that will be accessible soon.

We have an, but you're right. There's so much information out there and it's hard to digest it all and to look at the different studies because everyone has a different method.

Speaker 1: What's really impressive about the document we're talking about today, the guidance to protect habitat from pesticide contamination, it's really well cited. There is a lot of that research that appears in the appendix of the publication. So I really encourage listeners to check it out. The final question that we ask all our guests is if they have a favorite pollinator species, is species that you see when it flies by or when you think about it really sparks your imagination?

Speaker 2: There's so many amazing bees and I actually, I just looked out my window and I saw my first bumblebee and I can't tell, I can't tell it's not the species, but as we talk, the first bumblebee of the season is just emerging in my yard. But maybe it's one of the first native bees that I learned about, but the squash bee has such an interesting story to me because the squash bee has really co-evolved with squash plants and has progressed, its range has grown with squash plants. And it's a ground nesting bee and the female is going to nest right at the base of a squash plant and then the male actually sleeps in the squash flower and early in the morning when no self-respecting honey bee is out, the squash bees are up and out and pollinating squash because if you are, if you grow squash in your yard, you know that those squash flowers open very early in the morning.

Speaker 1: And then close up again. Yes. And the other reason, because I'm interested in pesticide issues, the squash bee is extremely important to me because when we're thinking about a soil drench of an insecticide in a squash field,

Speaker 2: that's a significant concern for the bees. So there, but they're a really amazing species. So if you don't know about squash bees, you should look them up, although you won't see them here in the Willamette Valley, unfortunately. This is one area where we don't have squash bees.

Speaker 1: You know, I haven't had the good fortune to work anywhere with squash bees in Canada. It was, well, Western Canada and it was, I'm looking forward to my first squash plant with a squash bee, especially after your recommendation. Well, thanks so much, MA, for joining us and just to remind our listeners some of the resources that MA has provided. We're going to link below in the show notes. So check out the webpage. Thanks so much for joining us.

Speaker 2: Thank you so much. It was a real pleasure to be here.

Speaker 1: Thanks so much for listening. Show notes with information discussed in each episode can be found at pollinationpodcast.oregonstate.edu We'd also love to hear from you and there's several ways to connect. For one, you can visit our website to post an episode-specific comment, suggest a future guest or topic, or ask a question that could be featured in a future episode. You can also email us at [email protected]. Finally, you can tweet questions or comments or join our Facebook or Instagram communities. Just look us up at OSU Pollinator Health. If you like the show, consider letting iTunes know by leaving us a review or rating.

It makes us more visible, which helps others discover pollination. See you next week.

Aimee Code is the Pesticide Program Director at the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

During her career she has worked in urban and agricultural setting to mitigate the risks of pesticide use and promote integrated pest management programs.

She also works with communities ​around the country to implement policies and practices to restore dwindling pollinator populations.​

Today we discuss how to mitigate the use of chemicals and pesticides on farms and around pollinator habitats, as well as what to do when you have to use chemicals.

We talk about the best places to build and locate pollinator habitat, and more.

You can Subscribe and Listen to PolliNation on Apple Podcasts.

And be sure to leave us a Rating and Review!

“If we take step back we realize that about half of the US land base is agriculture.” – Aimee Code

Show Notes:

  • What the Xerces society is all about
  • The initiatives that they have to work with farmers to better preserve pollinators
  • How to look for habits in agriculture landscapes
  • What the society does to put pollinator habit back in place where it was lost
  • Why they are focusing on habit for pollinators instead of other aspects of conservation
  • How pesticide exposure commonly happens
  • How to create more resilient farming practices so that less chemicals are being used
  • The growing body of research on how harmful fungicides can be to pollinators
  • How to choose where your pollinator habits are going to be located
  • Why native bees are often more at risk to pesticides than honey bees

“He used to work to deter insects on his farm. Now he’s working to support beneficial insects. It’s a complete shift in his thinking.” – Aimee Code

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