Backyard gardeners give Ohio State agriculture researchers a hand in pollination study

June 8, 2014

From The Republic (Columbus, Indiana)

WOOSTER, Ohio — Thousands of seeds have been planted, and amateur scientists across the state are stepping into their laboratories, also known as their backyards.

About 2,400 sunflowers, tomatoes, cucumbers and banana peppers were set to sprout in this study on pollination.

Interest in pollination has grown as bee colonies continue to suffer mass deaths across North America and in Europe.

These die-offs could mean disaster for farmers. Ohio beekeepers lost 50 to 80 percent of their honeybees this past winter, according to the state Department of Agriculture. Nationwide, honeybees pollinate more than $14 billion in crops each year, according to theU.S. Department of Agriculture.

But what about small-scale agricultural endeavors, such as suburban backyards and urban community gardens?

That's what Mary Gardiner and her colleagues at Ohio State University's Agricultural Research and Development Center are interested in learning.

"We know very little about how bees use flowers in cities and people's backyards," said Scott Prajzner, an OSU graduate research associate working on the study. "Are they getting enough pollination?" (Full Story Here)