Pollinator Wonderland

This morning I was at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center photographing two researchers examining insect pollinators and predators on a cover crop of mustard. On the left is postdoctoral scholar in entomology Tara Pisani Gareau and on the right professor of entomology Mary Barbercheck.  They were looking for beneficial insects that visit the mustard whose bright flowers provide an excellent source of pollen and nectar.  Barbercheck noted that nearly every insect observed was beneficial. 

I have not seen so many honeybees in one place in a long time.

As part of an ongoing research project Pisani Gareau and Barbercheck are looking at how different crop rotations impact sustainable and organic forage production systems.  Incorporating flowering cover crops, like mustard, in crop rotations may enhance important ecosystem services like pollination and biological control.  In the distance you can see some of the high tunnel structures at Rock Springs. To find more information on work in these areas visit the College's site dealing with ecological applications.

Like the bees, I was attracted by the bright yellow flowers.

  

Comments

Jillian said…
Really nice photo, Steve. Beautiful color, and I love the sky.
Ben Cooper said…
I would love to have that field next to my boxes of honey bees. Thanks for the update and great photo!
Steve Williams said…
Jillian: Thanks for your kind words about the photo. It was a compelling scene with all the color. The only thing the image doesn't reflect is the temperature hovering around 90 degrees.

Ben Cooper: It was obvious that the bees really appreciated those flowers!
Anonymous said…
My daughter is a high school junior and interested in the environment. As a Penn State alum I never thought of ag as place she might study ways to affect the environment. Just stumbled across your blog and have to say I was impressed with what I've seen.

Who knows, maybe my daughter will be studying ways to help pollinators!

Thank you.

Jack

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