Kaeser Compressors is funding a two year study at the Virginia Tech Entomology Department’s Couvillon Lab. The results of the research will allow the everyday gardener to customize plantings for hungry bees looking for food.
The Couvillon Lab investigates the dynamics of how pollinators collect their food with a specific focus on honey bee foraging, recruitment, and health. The ongoing pollinator crisis exemplifies how public interest in scientific issues can be a mixed blessing. While awareness is growing and many want to feed hungry bees by planting bee-friendly flowers indiscriminately, this help – offered with the best of intentions – cannot necessarily be effective because we do not fully understand the dynamics of the food collection by bees.
The hypothesis is that while available lists of “perfect pollinator plants” exist from some reputable groups, these lists are neither compatible, complete, or vetted. Most importantly, existing lists do not seem to be based on scientific research or, at the very least, fail to cite scientific studies.
Graduate student Micki Palmersheim has been named the “Kaeser Fellow” in charge of collecting data and completing the research by 2021. The data will be presented to the scientific community through conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications and to the larger lay community through Cooperative Extension, outreach, public talks, and community events. Kaeser has always believed that maintaining the quality of the environment is a shared commitment. Recognizing the global crisis related to pollinators and the broader impact it could have on our food supply, this research will help determine which plant and flower species are preferred by bees and other pollinators. Plus, study will add important and crucial knowledge to the field and be the first of its kind specific to the region. We see this study as a continuation of the Kaeser family’s long-standing commitment to the local communities and environments where they do business,” said Frank Mueller, president of Kaeser Compressors, Inc.