Project Rationale/Context

Pol l inator Stewardship and Mass Media Rationale

Advancing the role of integrated pest management, including effective use of pesticides, is critical to controlling the spread of harmful pests and diseases. It is estimated that 40 percent of global crops are lost to agricultural pests each year. In the United States, just the corn rootworm alone devastates more than $1 billion dollars of damage to Corn Belt farms annually. 1 The US Department of Agriculture Strategic Plan 2018-2022 emphasizes prevention and mitigation of agricultural pests and disease. Application of pesticides is a common control that annually impacts almost 400 million acres of land in production 2 and crops worth around $200 billion 3 . It is estimated that 25 percent of all pesticides are applied to houses, yards, parks, golf courses, and swimming pools 4 . Insecticides accounted for approximately 80% of expenditures in the home and garden sector and 50% of expenditures in the industrial/commercial/governmental sector in both 2009 and 2012. 5 There are recognized, undesirable effects associated with application and misuse of pesticides, especially by the general public without knowledge or training in pesticide safety. The potential to negatively impact pollinators is one of those effects. Pollinator health and sustainable colonies is critical for In the United States. One third of all agricultural output depends on pollinators. Insects and other animal pollinators are vital to the production of healthy crops for food, fibers, edible oils, medicines, and other products. The commodities produced with the help of pollinators generate significant income for producers and those who benefit from a productive agricultural community. Pollinators are also essential components of the habitats and ecosystems that many wild animals rely on for food and shelter. 6 Increasing the level of awareness about pesticides and their impact on pollinators by the general public can help to sustain pollinators around homes, farms and businesses. This project led by the National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC) ( will target messaging about pollinators using mass media (radio, digital, social) to reach a larger audience than is typical with most Extension messaging, will direct the audience to additional Extension resources and will develop methodology to measure audience engagement, including change in behavior and implementation of practices benefiting both native and managed pollinators. The approach will be pilot tested in a select group of Texas communities due to the mass media footprint already available to NPSEC in Texas, the content resources available through Texas AgriLife Extension, and the established connections with the Texas PSEP and state apiary inspector.

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