ESA Applauds WH Pollinator Health Task Force Plan

Annapolis, MD; June 19, 2015 – The Entomological Society of America (ESA), the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and related disciplines, celebrates National Pollinator Week and applauds the recent publication of the White House Pollinator Health Task Force’s National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators (Strategy). The Strategy and accompanying Pollinator Research Action Plan (Plan) outlines a multi-faceted approach, along with specific timeline and metrics, to address the myriad of issues plaguing bees and other pollinator populations. 

“Pollinator health is a national priority - critical to both the U.S. agricultural enterprise and the overall economy,” said ESA President Phil Mulder.  “We recognize the Administration’s continued commitment to address pollinator health, and commend the Pollinator Task Force for this collaborative Strategy and Research Plan.  Robust support for entomological research that is relevant to pollinator biology is key to developing solutions that will address the threats to pollinator health and prevent further decline of pollinator populations.”

The Task Force was created by President Obama in June 2014 and is co-chaired by the Secretary of Agriculture and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with representatives from a long list of federal agencies.

The recently released Strategy and Plan acknowledge the ongoing pollinator efforts at federal agencies and direct further policy collaboration and research coordination across the federal enterprise.  Specifically, it highlights several research priorities that ESA shares, including: population trends and basic biology; environmental stressors; land management; habitat restoration; and the importance of collections.  Many of ESA’s research priorities and policy efforts align with the specific recommendations contained in the Strategy.  Some of these include:

- Long-term monitoring, modeling, and research of populations of managed and wild pollinator species;

- Land use research and innovation;

- Pesticide research;

- Varroa mite research, including novel miticides and new methods of controlling mites;

- Increased pollinator public education and outreach;

- Leveraging public-private partnerships;

- Robust federal support and collaboration on research initiatives and priorities.

ESA applauds federal efforts to understand and mitigate declining pollinator populations and commends the Task Force’s recognition that research and extension are critical components of addressing this complex issue.  ESA is in the process of finalizing its own statement on pollinator health research and looks forward to assisting with implementation and dissemination of both the Strategy and Plan.

The Entomological Society of America is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has nearly 7,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension educators, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, and hobbyists. For more information, visit http://www.entsoc.org.

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