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Pollinator Research + Projects at UMass

Scientists from accross UMass are conducting research and outreach to improve bee health

Pollinator Gardens around Campus

  • Agricultural Learning Center (911 N. Pleasant St.). More info here.
  • Franklin Permaculture Garden (in front of Franklin Dining Commons). More info here
  • Songbird Garden (Governors Drive). More info here

State Apiary 

The State Apiary was established in June 2016, as a collaboration between the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture, and the UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture. It is located at the UMass Agricultural Learning Center, which can be found at 911 North Pleasant Street. During the summer, MDAR runs workshops at the apiary every Saturday. Click here for more information. 

sunflowerSunflower Pollen for Bee Health (Adler Lab)

We recently discovered that sunflower pollen dramatically reduces a gut pathogen of bumble bees and also reduces a different pathogen of honey bees. Furthermore, farms with more sunflower had lower incidence of the gut pathogen in wild bumble bees (Giacomini et al 2018). With funding from a USDA Pollinator Health grant, we are asking whether sunflower pollen improves health and reproduction of bumble and honey bees against a range of pathogens, and whether sunflower plantings or pollen supplements can be used as a non-chemical method to manage bee health. For more info, click here


Alison Fowler is a PhD student in the Adler Lab studying how sunflower pollen and diet diversity affect bee health. She is conducting lab and field studies to determine how bees' diets can help defend them against pathogens. Check out her webpage here

How do Floral Traits Affect Disease Transmission? (Adler Lab

Flowers provide essential resources for bees but can also serve as hotspots for disease transmission. The Adler lab is part of a multi-institution NIH grant, led by Scott McArt at Cornell University, to understand how floral and bee traits mediate disease transmission networks. The Adler lab is conducting field experiments manipulating floral, bee and community traits to understand their role in disease transmission. For more info, click here

taking a bee sample 2018 Massachusetts Hobbyist Health Survey

Last summer, researchers at UMass Amherst collaborated with 40 beekeepers in Massachusetts to gather data on hive health, including Nosema, Varroa, viruses and pesticides. This data is being analyzed by collaborators at Cornell in order to explore the relationship between land use and hive health. For more information, click here.

Wildlife-Friendly Solar Panels (UMass Clearn Energy Extension) 

Large solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays (solar panels!) can be planted with native vegetation to provide habitat to pollinators and wildlife species.  A number of states have established voluntary "pollinator-friendly" certification programs to help solar developers implement, maintain, and promote native meadow habitats under and around solar panels.  UMass Clean Energy Extension is working with state and federal agencies, pollinator experts, and stakeholders in the agriculture, wildlife biology, and solar energy communities to develop a pollinator-friendly designation program for solar PV facilities in Massachusetts.  For more information, visit the UMass Clean Energy Extension website.

Native Bee Conservation and Research (Joan Milam)

More info coming soon!