The term ‘pollinator’ refers not just to domesticated honey bees, but also to the hundreds of other species of native bees, butterflies, moths, flies and beetles that pollinate cultivated and wild plants. Pennsylvania alone is home to more than 430 bee species, most of which are solitary and live underground. Pollinators pack a powerful economic punch. In the US, pollinators contribute approximately $25 billion to agriculture. In Pennsylvania, their economic services to producers have an estimated economic value of $250 million.
Populations of both wild and domesticated pollinators have been in decline in recent years. According to P4, the most important challenges pollinators face in Pennsylvania include:
- Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation
- Pesticide use
- Pests and pathogens