Press Release: 2022-06-23

Baker-Polito Administration Celebrates Massachusetts Pollinator Week

Baker-Polito Administration Celebrates Massachusetts Pollinator Week:



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6/23/2022



Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux joined state and local officials for a visit to the State Apiary at the University of Massachusetts Agricultural Learning Center Farm on Tuesday, June 21, 2022.



AMHERST — Governor Charlie Baker, in support of National Pollinator Week, has declared June 20 to June 26, 2022 as Pollinator Week in Massachusetts to draw attention to the importance and health of pollinators in the Commonwealth. To celebrate, Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux joined state and local officials for a visit to the State Apiary at the University of Massachusetts Agricultural Learning Center farm. Pollinators include bees, birds, bats, butterflies and other species. Over 45 percent of agricultural commodities in Massachusetts rely on pollinator species for crop pollination and food production. Pollinator species provide significant environmental benefits that are necessary for maintaining healthy, diverse ecosystems, and produce valuable products, including honey, propolis, royal jelly, and wax.



“Pollinator Week is not only a great time to celebrate our wonderful pollinators and their impact on keeping a sustainable food supply, but also remind everyone that nurseries and greenhouses are the largest agricultural sector in the Commonwealth and they play a critical role in helping to keep our pollinators flourishing,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux.



Currently in its second year, the Baker-Polito Administration launched its annual “Growing Wild Massachusetts” campaign with a kickoff event at Bigelow Nursery in Northborough, which aims to promote and preserve pollinators throughout the Commonwealth and offers the public free Growing Wild starter kits and other educational resources to create pollinator-friendly native plant habitat and boost pollinator populations. Massachusetts is home to a diverse beekeeping industry, with over 6,000 beekeepers managing over 40,000 hives. In addition to pollination services, the honeybee industry also produces the specialty crop of honey. According to the most recent MDAR Bee Aware Honey Bee Health Survey, $735,000 worth of honey was produced in Massachusetts this past year among hobbyist beekeepers. The sale of live bees and hive equipment is also a substantial industry in the Commonwealth, with an estimated $3.7 million in sales of live bees between March and May 2022.



MDAR’s Apiary Program was established to promote and ensure pollinator health in the Commonwealth. To assist in beekeeper education and provide support, MDAR maintains two state apiary facilities consisting of active honeybee hives. The purpose of these apiaries is to serve as vessels for education, outreach demonstrations and research related to agricultural sustainability, pollination, honeybee health and hive management. These apiaries also provide valuable pollination services to cultivated acreage of crops, gardens, trees and wildflowers.



To learn more about how you can support pollinators by planting native plants and find local honey, please visit MDAR’S Apiary Program page at https://www.mass.gov/apiary-program-honey-bees or the MassGrown Map at https://massnrc.org/farmlocator/map.aspx.