Perceptions of Pollinators: Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors Among University Faculty, Students, and Staff

UNCP Author/Contributor (non-UNCP co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
James P. Locklear (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP )
Web Site:
Rita Hagevik

Abstract: Native bee declines are a significant concern worldwide because of the potential impact on ecosystem functioning, affecting human well-being. There are 20,000 native bee species worldwide, of which approximately 4,000 are in North America. Native bees are the most important pollinators because of their diversity and specificity to many flowering plant species. Decreased crop yield and possible economic collapse, food shortages, and floral plant declines would follow a significant decline in native bees. Since pollinators are so critical, organizations such as the Xerces Society and Obama Administration’s National Strategy to Promote Honeybees and Other Pollinators are aiding in educating the public and enlisting the people’s assistance in support of pollinators. As these critical initiatives promote pollinators the public knows little about how important these tiny insects are to their well-being. To understand the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of undergraduate students, graduate students, professors, and staff at a university in the Southeastern U.S., a bee questionnaire was administered online through Qualtrics. The survey contained three sections that measured knowledge and attitudes using a drop-down selection or a Likert Scale of 1 to 5. This was followed by 16 images identified as a bee or non bee. Finally, the participant was asked to select which bee was a honeybee from the images. Analysis of the results included a binomial comparison, ANOVA statistical analysis between the groups, and a comparison of means. The results showed that only 27% of the participants knew that there were 4,000 species of bees, 53% of participants could identify a honeybee, 40% of participants were afraid of bees, 79% were concerned about bees, 82% agreed pollinators were important, and 96% thought that bees were essential to humans. In conclusion, it was determined that almost half the participants did not know what a honeybee looked like, and only one-fourth of participants knew that 4000 species of native bees were in the U.S. Overall, there was a lack of knowledge about pollinators, even though most participants believed pollinators to be important. It is interesting to note that there was no statistical difference between the different groups (staff, students, faculty). Future implications from this study to support bee conservation education for the public and Universities such as this one in becoming a U.S. Bee Campus through a certification program.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2023
native bee, pollinators, conservation, environmental behavior

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