It’s all in the timing…

In many agricultural landscapes, sources of pollen and nectar can be scarce. Since most crops only flower for a couple of weeks, there can be periods of the growing season when pollinators must search for alternate sources of food.

Maintaining areas of non-crop flowering plants may be an important way of sustaining pollinators and other beneficial insects. If selected carefully, the plant species established in such areas can provide a continuous sequence of blooms throughout the season.

In our work, we are characterizing the flowering phenology of twenty-five perennial plant species which are native to Pennsylvania.

We are also conducting observations and physical collections of the insect pollinators which visit these plants. Through this work, we will be able to investigate the floral preferences of bee species in central Pennsylvania and determine which plants attract the greatest number of pollinators and the greatest diversity of pollinators.