Pollinator Project

Image of native bee pollinating tomatillo
Native bee pollinating tomatillo

In recent years, domesticated honeybee populations have suffered severe declines in many parts of the world - a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Colony Collapse Disorder is thought to be due to a complex combination of factors, including habitat loss, pathogens, exposure to insecticides, and other stresses. The decline in honeybee populations has stimulated increasing interest in providing habitat both for domesticated (hive) bees and for the native wild bees that can help provide pollination services when honeybees are in short supply.

New Mexico State University is collaborating with the NRCS Plant Materials Center for New Mexico in testing more than 100 species of (mostly native) plants for their ability to attract and retain pollinators and other beneficial insects. The project started in 2010 at the Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center/NM Plant Materials Center, and, thanks to funding from the Western IPM Center, we have now replicated this initial trial at three other sites: the NMSU Farmington Agricultural Science Center, the NMSU Tucumcari Agricultural Science Center and an additional site in Vado, NM.

The information from these trials is being used to draw up a comprehensive list of recommended plants that will help sustain pollinators in different parts of the state (see below)

Image of pollinator planting at Los Lunas.
Part of the pollinator planting at the Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center/NRCS Plant Materials Center for New Mexico