Operation Pollinator: A guide for protecting pollinators

Creating a successful, thriving area for pollinators is an important factor when thinking about available spaces around your golf course. Golf courses provide an ideal environment and opportunity to establish and preserve habitats to help prevent further pollinator decline. Establishing an Operation Pollinator habitat can positively benefit pollinators, superintendents, players, the golf course and the community.  


Several golf courses around the United States and England have adapted Operation Pollinator habitats, such as Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, FL, The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge in Snoqualmie, WA and Farleigh in Surrey, UK.


Farleigh in Surrey, UK. Photo credit: Breitner Miklós
The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge in Snoqualmie, WA. Photo credit: Ryan Gordon
Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, FL. Photo credit: Innisbrook Resort

So, how can you create a flourishing area for pollinators? See below for tips:

Pollinator bee. Photo credit: Syngenta, 2018.

Acelepryn® insecticide offers golf course superintendents excellent, season-long control of white grubs, caterpillars and billbugs. It’s a good fit for controlling insects on golf courses where preservation of beneficial and non-target organisms is a concern.  

During his tenure at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Daniel Potter conducted studies to examine the impact of Acelepryn on beneficial and non-target organisms, including bumblebees, earthworms and honeybees. His results found that Acelepryn did not adversely affect bumblebee colony foraging even when the worker bees were exposed to flowering clover that had been directly sprayed.1 Additionally, Acelepryn does not have a signal word on its label given the results of required acute toxicity studies conducted on the formulation. 

Selecting an Operation Pollinator site 

The next step is to select a location on your course that is in an out-of-play area and determine the appropriate size. Sites can range from a few thousand square feet to several acres. Ensuring the site is in an out-of-play area will allow it to thrive, become well established and prevent it from interrupting playability. 

Determine your wildflower variety  

After your Operation Pollinator site has been identified, you’ll want to select and plant wildflowers that will attract a variety of bee species. Applewood Seed Company in Arvada, Colorado partners with Syngenta to supply custom wildflower mixes for Operation Pollinator sites. Wildflower mixes are selected based on the course geography and climate, and multiple mixes can be used to help ensure flowering during different seasons.  

Popular wildflowers include bergamot, black-eyed Susan, purple coneflower, plains coreopsis, prairie coneflower and lance-leaved coreopsis.  

Promote your Operation Pollinator site 

Once a site is established, Syngenta will provide signage to mark these conservation areas and introduce golfers to Operation Pollinator. In addition to proper signage, Syngenta will also provide educational materials that can be displayed with other information about your sites in your pro shop or golf carts.  

For more information about Operation Pollinator and to get started, visit GreenCastOnline.com/OperationPollinator.  

1Jonathan L. Larson, Carl T. Redmond and Daniel A. Potter, The Seedcare Institute. September 2011. 

All photos are either the property of Syngenta or are used with permission.  

© 2024 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties and/or may have state-specific use requirements. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration and proper use. Acelepryn®, GreenCast® and the Syngenta logo are trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. All other trademarks are the property of their respective third-party owners. 

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