There has been an alarming decline in native pollinator abundance and species diversity over the past several decades. Maine is home to over 270 species of native pollinators (including bees, moths, hummingbirds, and butterflies—such as Monarch butterflies), but these numbers are threatened. Several factors appear to be at play, including habitat fragmentation and habitat loss, climate change, pesticide use, and disease.
As unpaid ‘workaholics’, bees and other pollinators play an important role in our food supply system. They are responsible for the pollination of 75% of the fruit, nuts, and vegetables grown in the US, and one out of every four bites of food we eat exist because of pollinators. In fact, pollination produces products worth almost $20 billion annually in the U.S.!
In this timely forum to be held on World Bee Day, we will examine the background, biology and current status of native bees in Maine; how Maine residents, businesses, and industry can all play a role in reversing the decline of pollinators; see examples from municipal, agricultural, and commercial sectors on recent work happening in Maine to encourage pollinators; and learn what we all can do to create or enhance the habitat of native bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.