State wildlife officials say they are concerned that climate change and urbanization might diminish the native bee population. Reno Public Radio’s Michelle Bliss reports the Nevada Department of Agriculture is putting together guidelines to protect these important pollinators of natural plants.
Jeff Knight is the state’s entomologist. His job is primarily to keep the bad bugs out and to monitor the ones that are vital to the local environment.
He says native bees are among the best pollinators we’ve got. They’re unique to Nevada’s eco-system and essential for crops, especially the ones that require bee pollination to grow.
“The native bees have a big role as far as in the eco-system; they’re of course the ones that pollinate all our native and natural plants out there," Knight says. "They’re the ones that keep that system going.”
Although Knight doesn’t have immediate concerns about native bees disappearing, his department wants to put a plan in place to protect them in the future.
That’s why they're working with various stakeholders like bee keepers, the pest control industry and environmental regulators to create an official Pollinator Protection Plan for Nevada.
“Basically they’re plans that say these are the things that you should do to help pollinators, keep pollinators going and protect them from pesticides and other activities."
Knight hopes to have a protection plan to present for public input by next summer. He says the guidelines would protect native bees and all types of pollinators, such as birds and other animals and insects.