From: University of W├╝rzburg
Published July 20, 2017 10:10 AM

Nesting aids make agricultural fields attractive for bees

Farmers are facing a problem: Honeybees are becoming ever more rare in many places. But a lot of plants can only produce fruits and seeds when their flowers were previously pollinated with pollen from different individuals. So when there are no pollinators around, yields will decrease.

But honeybees are not the only insects that do this crucial job. The various species of wild bees, too, are busy pollen collectors and pollinate a number of crops in the process. However, their importance has long been underestimated. But we now know that the yields of many crops increase noticeably when not only honeybees but also their "wild" relatives are abundant in fields.

Study of rapeseed field landscapes

"So we studied how the number of bees on agricultural land can be increased with sustainable effect," Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter explains. For this purpose, the qualified beekeeper and Professor of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany, together with his team and colleagues from the University of Wageningen investigated several landscapes with rapeseed fields. The study was conducted within the scope of the EU project STEP (Status and Trends of European Pollinators).

Read more at University of Würzburg

Image: Nesting aids at the edges of fields can increase the numbers of wild bees: The insects lay their eggs in short bundles of reed. (Credit: Verena Rieding)

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