NPW ’21 — UTIA

National Pollinator Week is coming to a close, but it’s important to remember the importance of this event. While small and often inconspicuous, pollinators provide a wonderful service to our environment, economy, and culture. Even if it’s just one week of admiration for these critters, it’s imperative we consider pollinators and appreciate all they do for us as much as we can. Above, you can see a collage created by Dr. Jennifer Tsuruda. Below, you can see Governor Bill Lee’s 2021 proclamation. From here at UT, here are quotes from the Dean of Extension and the Vice President/Chancellor of UTIA:   “National pollinator week is a great time to reflect upon how important pollinators are across our ecosystems. Without them,

NPW ’21 — Pollinator Diversity

      There is great diversity in pollinators in the world but here in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, we have a special place in our hearts for insect pollinators. For several crops (such as sunflowers, blueberries, sweet cherries, and apples), increased bee diversity can result in increased pollination and productivity. Similarly, diversity in floral resources helps supply essential nutrients to pollinators. The UT Gardens in Knoxville will soon be adding signage to indicate some of the pollinators’ favorite plants – please plan a visit to enjoy the plants and the pollinators!

NPW ’21 — Bees of Tennessee

Dr. Laura Russo from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology created this wonderful poster showcasing many of the types of bees found here in Tennessee. Many are very common and can be found even in your own garden! From left to right/top to bottom: Mason bees Leaf cutter bees Small carpenter bees Bumble bees Sweat bees Mining bees Blue-green sweat bees   Let us know if you happen to find any of these bees in your own yard! Take plenty of pictures! Most of these critters are quite friendly and are reluctant to sting you so don’t be afraid. 🙂

World Bee Day

To raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face, and their contribution to sustainable development, the UN designated May 20th as World Bee Day. The goal is to strengthen measures aimed at protecting bees and other pollinators, which would significantly contribute to solving problems related to the global food supply and eliminate hunger in developing countries. We all depend on pollinators and it is, therefore, crucial to monitor their decline and halt the loss of biodiversity.

Amani Khalil smiling candidly after her research poster was awarded "Best Judged Poster"

Amani Khalil Awarded “Judged Best Poster” from SSAWG Conference 2020!

Amani Khalil– Mani to her friends– recently won the poster competition at the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) this past week in Little Rock, Arkansas. She competed against 36 other posters from other students, extension agents, and organizations. Mani is a Graduate Research Assistant and working on her MS. She is tackling the interaction between native perennials and pollinators and follows the mentorship of Dr. Laura Russo. We are very proud of your accomplishment, Mani. Please keep up the great work!!

New Paper on Relative Attractiveness of Ornamental Cultivars to Pollinators

Ornamental plants are generally considered to be less attractive to pollinating insects, but some varieties and cultivars are more attractive than others. Here we compare the relative attractiveness of different popular ornamental plants to flower-visiting insects and provide recommendations for more pollinator-friendly varieties. View the open-access article Please feel free to email Dr. Laura Russo with any questions concerning this project: lrusso@utk.edu