Honeybees, Native Bees and Alternative Pollinators

Honeybees, Native Bees and Alternative Pollinators

Pollinators: Southern Region Resources on Honeybees, Native Bees and Alternative Pollinators

Whether you are a farmer, a backyard gardener, a plant lover or an insect enthusiast, recognizing the role pollinators, like bees, play in agriculture and the natural environment shouldn't be overlooked.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 80 percent of all flowering plants rely on pollinators to produce seeds, fruits and vegetables. One out of every three bites of food we take is made possible through the work of pollinators, such as the European honeybee and native bee species, like the bumblebee. However, the important role pollinators play in food production and plant biodiversity is in jeopardy due to a variety of factors that affect pollinator survival and population distribution: incidences of disease, habitat loss, environmental impacts, economic development, invasive species and poor agricultural practices.

This topic room includes a collection of educational materials, such as articles, videos, publications and Power Point presentations, developed out of SARE-funded pollinator research for those interested in bees and beekeeping. Through these grant projects, farmers, researchers and conservation groups strive to protect pollinators in a number of different ways -- exploring the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder in honeybees, breeding honeybees to strengthen their resistance to pests and diseases, protecting native bee habitats, and finding sustainable ways to incorporate alternative pollinators in fruit and vegetable production.

SARE has a long history of supporting pollinators through grant-funded projects and practical resources that focus on pest and disease management, beekeeping practices, bee breeding, habitat development and management, and incorporating bees in sustainable production practices. Through such sustainable research and education, the sustainability of beekeeping practices, the sustainable relationship between pollinators and the environment, and the development of profitable marketing and value-added activities and products generated from the work of bees are consistently being reinforced.

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National SARE Publications

Managing Alternative Pollinators


Managing Alternative Pollinators: A Handbook for Beekeepers, Growers and Conservationists is a first-of-its-kind, step-by-step, full-color guide for rearing and managing bumble bees, mason bees, leafcutter bees and other bee species that provide pollination alternatives to the rapidly declining honey bee.

Download File (4.96 MB)

Manage Insects on Your Farm


While every farming system is unique, the principles of ecological pest management apply universally. Manage Insects on Your Farm highlights ecological strategies that improve your farm’s natural defenses and encourage beneficial insects to attack your worst pests.

Download File (3.46 MB)

How to Manage the Blue Orchard Bee


How to Manage the Blue Orchard Bee explains how to use this alternative pollinator successfully, including nesting, rearing and wintering, how to manage predators, and more. Available only online.

Download File (824.15 kB)

A Sustainable Approach to Controlling Honey Bee Diseases and Varroa Mites


This fact sheet describes efforts to breed honey bees, Apis mellifera, resistant to diseases and parasitic mites to reduce the amount of antibiotics and pesticides used in bee colonies and to ensure that our breeding methods and stock are accessible to beekeepers everywhere.

Download File (474.52 kB)

Cover Cropping for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects


This 16-page bulletin will help you use cover crops to encourage populations of pollinators and beneficial insects on your farm while you address your other resource concerns. 

Download File (728.29 kB)