Wild bees provide a bigger slice of the pie in pumpkin pollination

Image of bee in pumpkin blossom.

(Penn State) Pumpkin growers frequently rent managed honeybee colonies to pollinate their crops, but a recent study suggests wild bees may be able to do the job just as well and for free. Approximately 97 percent of the field observations consisted of three pollinators: bumble bees, honeybees, and squash bees. However, hand collections from the blossoms revealed 37 different bee species visiting the flowers. And the pollen transfer from just the wild species easily exceeded the pollination requirements for pumpkins.

Eva Crane, the ultimate beekeeper

Image of Eva Crane with other woman.

(Cosmos) Eva Crane was one of the greatest writers on bees and beekeeping in the 20th century. See wrote and published hundreds of papers, articles and books. She helped create one of the world’s major databases on bee science. And her honey bee studies took her to more than 60 countries, “sometimes traveling by dugout canoe or dog sled to document the human use of bees from prehistoric times to the present”.

Honey bees are fond of strawberries, but solitary bees are always present

Image of strawberry field.

(Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) While honey bees might prefer strawberry fields over flowering oilseed rape, honey bees are less common in among strawberries when the oilseed rape is in full bloom. In contrast, solitary wild bees, like mining bees, are constantly present in the strawberry fields. “Wild bees are therefore of great importance for the pollination of crops… our results also show that wild bees in the landscape should be supported by appropriate management measures.”

Experts call for overhaul of pesticide regulations

Image of tractor spraying.

(Phys.org) A trio of researchers are calling for an overhaul of the regulatory frameworks that define the ways that pesticides can be used. “Environmental risk assessment of pesticides does not account for many stressors that have intensified in recent years, such as climate change, habitat destruction, and increasing landscape homogeneity, the combination of which can aggravate effects of pesticides in nature.”

Collectors find plenty of bees but far fewer species than in the 1950s

Image of Bombus dahlbomii bumblebee in Chile.

Declines in the number of species occurred on nearly every continent, starting at various points in the last four decades but largely in the 1990s on most continents. One exception was Australia and nearby islands, where the number of bee species estimated from observations spiked in the 2000s before dropping back down in the 2010s. Globally, thousands of bee species have become so rare that they are difficult to find or have gone extinct.