Wild bee visiting Vilicus Farms pollinator habitat_by Jennifer Hopwood, Xerces Society

Answering the call: Bee Better provides a much-needed opportunity for farmers

What does it take to create lasting pollinator habitat in agriculture? A new article in the Journal of Ecology published the same day Bee Better Certified was launched highlights incentive programs as a way to reward farmers for their pollinator conservation efforts and help them re-invest in those efforts over time.  Incentive programs, like Bee … Read more

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Habitat Highlight: Insectary Strips

Flowering insectary strips are an excellent strategy for supporting pollinators and other beneficial insects on farms.  Planted along field edges or directly within fields, these strips help ensure that flowering habitat is in close proximity to the crop fields where pollination and pest control services are most needed.  Insectary strips can be temporary (annual) or … Read more

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Habitat Highlight: Understory Habitat

Understory habitat refers to areas that can support flowering plants and grasses beneath or between existing crops such as berries, grapes or orchard fruits. Understory habitat helps bring pollination and pest control services directly in amongst crops where they can provide the most benefit. Understory crops can also aid in weed suppression, erosion control, and … Read more

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Habitat Highlight: Filter Strips

Filter strips are a great opportunity for adding habitat to meet habitat minimums while utilizing existing site features. Filter strips can be designed to reduce flow of sediment, excess nutrients, and pesticides into waterways, which can help improve water quality, reduce flooding, and ensure healthier populations of aquatic invertebrates.  Filter strips may be dry for … Read more

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Habitat Highlight: Mass Flowering Crops

Mass-flowering crops refer to agricultural crops that provide abundant floral resources during their bloom period, which is often over a short period of time. Examples of mass-flowering crops are almond, blueberry, canola, and sunflower. Mass-flowering crops have been shown to support a wide array of pollinators and provide critical short-term resources, especially in agricultural landscapes … Read more

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Habitat Highlight: Meadows

Wildflower meadows are permanent plantings of nectar- and pollen-rich plants, and can also contain native grasses or sedges. While meadows host both perennial and annual plant species, annual species tend to dominate in the early years, as they are early-successional species, with perennials generally taking over as the meadow matures. Wildflower meadows often require periodic … Read more

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Habitat Highlight: Beetle Banks

Beetle banks invite natural pest control into your fields. A beetle bank is a berm planted with native grasses and/or wildflowers which attracts and supports predaceous ground beetles and other beneficial insects. Decomposing wood may also be added to beetle banks to enhance the habitat opportunities for beetles and above-ground nesting bees. The predaceous beetles … Read more

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Habitat Highlight: Flowering Cover Crops

Cover crops are gaining increased attention for their ability to benefit soil health while also supporting pollination and pest control services. They can be used for erosion control, for adding nitrogen and organic matter to the soil, and to suppress weeds. To best support pollinators, cover crops need to contain flowering species that are allowed … Read more

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Habitat Highlight: Hedgerows

Hedgerows are linear rows of shrubby flowering plants that are most easily incorporated along field edges, or in areas that are inaccessible for production. Hedgerows can provide a privacy screen, prevent wind and water erosion, and support populations of beneficial pollinators and predatory insects.  Hedgerows provide numerous benefits to wildlife. They are often a great … Read more

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Unpacking the Standards: Habitat Requirements

Habitat is the key ingredient for pollinator protection. It provides the flowers pollinators rely on for sustenance as well as the nest sites they call home. That’s why Bee Better Certified™ asks farms to dedicate at least 5% of their total farm area to pollinator habitat.