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Pollinators

Each of us depends on pollinators in a practical way to provide us with the wide range of foods we eat.

Pollination services from honey bees and other insects provide the backbone to ensuring our diets are diverse and plentiful with fruits, nuts, and vegetables. In all, there are over 100 crops grown in the United States that depend on pollination. USDA supports the critical role pollinators play in agriculture through research and data collections, diagnostic services and pollinator health monitoring, pollinator habitat enhancement programs, and pollinator health grants.


  • Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) conducts a monthly National Honey Report, which collects prices paid of extracted and unprocessed honey, price by honey type, primary nectar source visited, and estimates the export and import of honey with major trading partners. 

    Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) safeguards honey bees against the entry, establishment, and spread of economically and environmentally significant pests, and facilitates the safe trade of agricultural product.  Information on the National Honey Bee Pests and Diseases Survey, Exotic Bee and Bee Mite ID guides, outreach videos on the parasitic Varroa mite and introductions to beekeeping can be found at this site.

    Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Bee Research Laboratories are located across the country.  These labs look at a wide range of issues that impact bee health.  The primary labs include:

    Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which implements long-term rental contracts with growers to voluntarily remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production, and to plant species that will improve environmental health and quality, such as for pollinator and wildlife habitat.

    National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts statistically based surveys of beekeepers, including the Bee and Honey Inquiry Survey and the Colony Loss Survey. 

    National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) provides grants to universities, including Land-Grant institutions, to address high priority pollinator research.  They also work to provide funding to U.S. Land-Grant institutions and counties through the Cooperative Extension System to conduct information and technology transfer to stakeholders on pollinator health.

    Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offers more than three dozen conservation practices that can benefit pollinators. Although many of these practices target improving grazing lands or reducing soil erosion, small modifications to the practices can yield benefits to pollinator species. The shared link provides an overview of NRCS conservation work for pollinators and pollinator conservation and habitat enhancement resources.

    Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP) analyses policy questions that address questions related to the interface of crop pest management and pollinator health and works closely with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistic Service on data collections to better understand pollinator Best Management Practices. The link provides an exhaustive summary of crops that are attractive and/or pollinated by both honey bees and other bees in the United States.

    Risk Management Agency (RMA) administers the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP) program which provides financial assistance to eligible producers of honey bees due to disease and certain adverse weather events or loss conditions. ELAP assistance is provided for losses not covered by other disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

    U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is highly engaged in the protection of pollinators via sound management of and research to support managed lands.  This link provides information on topics such as pollination, plant pollination strategies, types of pollinators, pollinator friendly practices, and gardening for pollinators.




Pollinator Fact Sheets, News and Blogs



bee on flower

2021 USDA Annual Strategic Pollinator Priorities and Goals Report

A report on federally-led efforts to address factors impacting pollinator health.

Read the report (PDF, 1.0 MB)


bee on flower

What's all the buzz about?

See the impact of USDA's efforts focusing on pollinator health, crop production, and conservation.

View the infographic (PDF, 1.5 MB)

bee storage

Pollinators at a Crossroads

Bees and other pollinators, including birds, bats, butterflies, moths, flies, wasps, beetles, and small mammals, play a critical role in our food production system.

Read the blog


bee on flower

Pollinator Facts

An overview of why pollinators are so important to our agricultural industry and our lives.

Read the fact sheet (PDF, 1.5 MB)

Butterfly on a flower

Farmers are Helping to Protect Working Wings

Fruits and veggies give us the well-balanced diet we need to live healthy lifestyles, and pollinators are our suppliers.

Read the blog


honey bees

Honey Bee Production Highlights

Overview of major statistics on honey bees collected by NASS, USDA’s statistical service.

Read the fact sheet


  • Horned-Face Bees Sublet in a Honey Bee Colony

    Shedding new light on strategies used to ensure survival of two very different pollinators.

    Read the news release


    Helping Honey Bees Make It Through Winter With Early Cold Storage

    Putting honey bees into early indoor cold storage in October rather than November increases their chances of surviving the winter.

    Read the news release


    The Value of Birds and Bees

    Pollinators benefit America’s working forests, farms, and ranches.

    Read the blog


    Protecting Pollinators from a New Threat – First-Ever U.S. Sightings of Asian Giant Hornet

    Asian giant hornets are extremely large and equipped with relatively massive mandibles (teeth).

    Read the blog


    Scientists Probe Pollinator Survival

    Shedding new light on strategies used to ensure survival of two very different pollinators.

    Read the news release








Highlights


Access USDA resources on enhancing agricultural pollinator health and conservation.



How Farmers Can Help Pollinators
apiarist with bee colony
apiarist with bee colony

Online Identification Tools
honey bee with saddlebags of pollen attached to their hind legs
honey bee with saddlebags of pollen attached to their hind legs

Bee Disease Diagnosis Service
a family of varroa mites found at the bottom of a honey bee brood cell
a family of varroa mites found at the bottom of a honey bee brood cell

Honey Bee Surveys
apiarist with bee colony
apiarist with bee colony

Cold Storage Overwintering Tool
apiary
apiary

Establishing Pollinator Habitats
garden
garden

Introduction to Beekeeping
USDA Education Outreach Specialist Leslie Burks informs parents and their children about modern bee apiaries
USDA Education Outreach Specialist Leslie Burks informs parents and their children about modern bee apiaries







Gallery


View our collection of pollinators, plants and apiarists.


USDA bee besearchers

Laboratory Technician Michele Hamilton with interns Joshua Kawasaki and Pendo Abbo.


USDA rooftop hive

Apiary on the USDA Headquarters roof in Washington, D.C.


USDA rooftop hive

Apiary on the USDA Headquarters roof in Washington, D.C.


blackberries

Bees pollinate our blackberries and a multitude of other crops.


hummingbird

Hummingbird pollination is crucial in production for fruits and vegetables.


bumblebee on an echinacea plant

A bumblebee gathers pollen from an echinacea plant.



cherries

Sweet cherries are a pollinated crop.


honey bees

A queen Italian honey bee in the USDA Apiary in Washington, D.C.


bee researcher

Entomologist James Strange evaluates a queen bumble bee.



a family of apiarists

NRCS worked with Kavita and Justin Bay to combat future declines in honey bee populations.


almonds

Almonds are the number one pollinated crop.


honey bee research

ARS technician Lucy Snyder selecting bee larvae from honeycombs.