0699 The value of crop pollination by honey bees and native bees in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

Tuesday, November 18, 2008: 10:44 AM
Room A8, First Floor (Reno-Sparks Convention Center)
Rachael Winfree , Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ
Serena Gross , University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Insect-mediated crop pollination is an essential ecosystem service that has rarely been valued economically. In this paper we estimate the value of crop pollination by domesticated honey bees (Apis mellifera) and native, wild bees in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, USA. The data come from a detailed field study of watermelon pollination, and from published USDA statistics for 14 other crops. First, we use two existing methods to estimate the value of pollination. These measures diverge widely, valuing the pollination of watermelon by native bees at $0.19 to $4.77 million per year, while valuing the pollination of 14 crops by native bees and honey bees combined at $5.94 to $262.77 million per year. This wide range of estimates is comparable to that found in previous studies and highlights the need for more precise methods. Second, we develop two new methods to value pollination, which overcome some of the limitations of existing methods. When the pollination requirements of the plant are included in the calculation, the value of native bee pollination of watermelon increases and the value of honey bee pollination decreases. When the value of native bee pollination is measured using realized savings in honey bee stocking rates, which are lower in this region due to ambient native bee pollination, native bee pollination of 14 crops is worth $1.81 – $3.20 million per year. Overall, the large value of pollination lends support to current efforts to solve honey bee health problems, and to conserve native bees in agricultural areas.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.34645