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Neonicotinoid effects on pollinators in cucumbers

Michigan is the leading state for pickling cucumbers, producing around one third of the nation’s crop. Cucumbers seeds are treated with a neonicotinoid insecticide and are direct sown between late May and late July. During the plants’ 6-8 week lifespan, pollen needs to be transferred from male to female flowers. Pickling cucumbers are almost completely dependent on honey bees for pollination. In the current project, we are studying how honey bees use cucumber flowers as resources and the level of exposure to neonicotinoids from flowers. This project is headed up by postdoc, Eli Bloom and is funded by a USDA-SCRI grant. Watch our new video on pickling cucumber pollination here.