Cost Estimator: Habitat Installation & Maintenance
Creating high quality pollinator and beneficial insect habitat is typically the most expensive part of getting Bee Better Certified. Creating habitat and protecting it from harmful insecticides is also the most impactful thing you can do to help save bee populations and support healthy beneficial insect populations. Learn more here or review the Background to the Production Standards located in the Document Center.
This tool produces a general estimate for new permanent habitat (PH) and/or temporary habitat (TH) projects that meet the acreage requirements of the Bee Better Certified Production Standards. Please note that these calculations are estimates adapted from real-world case studies. Your project costs may vary significantly due to many factors including plant materials selection and labor.
Please note: If you have existing natural areas or older plantings on your farm, those areas may already meet the permanent habitat requirements. Use the Farm Management Assessment Guide in the Document Center to check your habitat areas for compliance or reach out to the Bee Better Certified team for help connecting with plant ecologists in your area.
For questions on your estimate and suggestions for how to reduce habitat costs, please reach out to [email protected].
Looking for financial or technical assistance? There are many options for funding and getting help with habitat work on your farm from the Xerces Society, USDA Service Centers, NRCS Incentives Programs, CDFA Healthy Soils, and much more. To learn more please contact [email protected].
Understanding your estimate
All estimates include labor costs based on average wages of agricultural workers for each state. The cost of tools, equipment, and fuel used during these activities are not included in the estimates.
|Site preparation costs cover the 1) weed suppression materials, 2) irrigation supplies and 3) local farm worker wages. Learn more about site preparation methods and relative costs in this guide for Organic Site Preparation.
|Installation costs cover 1) plant materials, 2) labor for plant material installation (manual labor for planting potted plants or labor for seeding by broadcast or drill).
|Maintenance Costs Permanent Habitat
|Maintenance costs cover the first 3 year period of BBC certification. With proper maintenance, most permanent habitat areas will be self-sustaining after this period. Maintenance activities include hand-weeding, mowing, selective herbicide applications, etc.
|Maintenance Costs Temporary Habitat
|Maintenance costs for temporary habitat are not estimated, since temporary habitat is typically moved around the farm based on annual or seasonal crop rotations and/or requires installation every year.
- Values in this estimate are adjusted from Estimated Costs to Establish Pollinator Hedgerows, Wildflower Plantings Using Chemical Fallow, and Wildflower Plantings Using Solarization. This calculator starts with values based on those case studies in California and then adjusts for regional differences in cost of living, labor, climate and ecoregion.
- Please find your region’s Habitat Installation Guides in the Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Resource Center for recommendations on installing habitat.
- Costs for plant materials and weed suppression materials can vary greatly due to many factors. Please contact your local nurseries for more precise estimates of seed and potted plants.