National bee project includes site in Fallbrook

Fallbrook Village News
Issue 47, Volume 14

FALLBROOK – The decline in the number of bees has become a priority nationwide in farmed landscapes. In six regions of the United States (California, Oregon, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida and New England), pollinator demonstration projects are being conducted to see if improving or adding native habitats can improve bee health and numbers.

Locally, Mission Resource Conservation District is partnering with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, and a local landowner to bring one of these projects to Fallbrook.

Local landowner George McManigle has volunteered his property for the installation of crop specific pollinator field trials. On Nov. 17, 500 feet long linear buffers of hedgerow natives were planted to the specifications of his site. McManigle and his conservation partners will be documenting the bloom period of specifically chosen native plants over a two-year period to evaluate how well they attracted native bees.

This is an effort to make sure the native plant choices are blooming at appropriate time relative to the primary crop and not competing or attracting bees away from their crop pollination job. The California Avocado Industry has long been dependent on the honey bee to increase production and the bee is probably the chief source of avocado set in California.

The information gained from these projects, along with the varied crops they represent, will be used to produce job sheets for other farmers and Natural Resource Conservation Service and Resource Conservation district planners on how to plant diverse wildflower habitat to attract and keep pollinators.