Survey of wild pollinators in flowering plants in the Corn Belt

Monday, November 11, 2013
Exhibit Hall 4 (Austin Convention Center)
Morgan Lucke , Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Christian Krupke , Department of Entomology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Declines in pollinators have been reported worldwide and could have serious negative consequences; more than one-third of the food produced is directly or indirectly dependent on pollinators. In 2005, pollination earned US$189.3 billion worldwide, accounting for 9.5% of the global agricultural production. This decline is believed to be influenced by a variety of factors including but not limited to diseases, parasites, pathogens, agricultural intensification, habitat fragmentation, pesticides, and even tilling. This is important because in 2012, there was around 914 million acres of farm land in United States (around 45% of land area in the US). The top 5 crops (corn, soybean, wheat, cotton, and hay) totaled a little over 278 million harvested acres and do not directly rely on animal pollinators but the practices associated with these crops could potentially influence the pollinators in and around the fields. The most common pollinator used for crop pollination is the European honey bee, Apis mellifera because they are easily managed in large numbers and the hives are easy to transport. Although A. mellifera is commonly used, there are other pollinators that may already be present in the landscape providing beneficial services. There is limited information available on the presence of native pollinators, especially in and around agriculture fields. A survey of wild pollinators was conducted in and around corn fields with managed and unmanaged cover crops as well as alfalfa fields to determine pollinator diversity and composition.