Date of this Version
HortTechnology, August 2018 28(4), pp 529-535 + 1-3.
Pollinating insects are integral to the health of all terrestrial ecosystems and agriculture worldwide. Urbanization can greatly reduce nutritional resources and habitat for pollinators. However, these losses can be mitigated through targeted landscape practices, such as planting nectar- and pollen-rich plants and managing pollinator habitat in urban areas, especially home landscapes. As homeowners attempt to conserve pollinators through horticultural practices, they often seek the advice and guidance of horticulture retail employees. The knowledge horticulture employees have about pollinators and the recommendations they provide to customers is largely unknown. A nationwide survey was developed and distributed with the objectives to 1) assess employee knowledge about pollinators and pollination biology, 2) discover what plant and management recommendations employees were giving customers pertaining to pollinator conservation, and 3) determine where to focus possible education and outreach, as well as which topics to focus educational programs on. Our findings suggest, among our respondents, that overall knowledge was adequate, with a mean score (±SD) being 8.37 (±3.23) of a possible range of 0–14 points. Uncertified and part-time employees were identified as having significantly lower scores. The subject of plant selection was found to have the largest gap in knowledge, with a mean score of 1.82 (±0.62) of a possible three points. We identified several opportunities for educational outreach, aimed at improving employee and customer knowledge on this important subject.