Call it ‘plan bee’: A new app could change how we support pollinators

Read the full story from the University of Minnesota.

Let’s say a farmer wants to plant wildflowers to nurture the bees that pollinate her crops. Currently, she would have to walk through her fields, assess locations, take measurements, spend hours crunching costs, and still only guess at the amount of pollination the effort will generate.

Soon, the farmer can do it all on her phone or computer with an app that will calculate the crop productivity and pollination benefits of supporting endangered bees.

University of Vermont (UVM) bee expert Taylor Ricketts, who is co-leading the app’s development with Eric Lonsdorf of the University of Minnesota (UMN), introduced the technology on February 19 during the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting. Ricketts was on the panel Plan Bee: Pollinators, Food Production and U.S. Policy.

The app, which goes live later this year, is a product of the Integrated Crop Pollination Project, supported by the USDA NIFA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative. The researchers are developing the app with Philadelphia software company Azavea.

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