Wild bees depend on the landscape structure

Image of researcher in field with net.

(EurekAlert/University of Göttingen) New research was out by agroecologists from the University of Göttingen indicate that sowing strips of wildflowers along conventional cereal fields and the increased density of flowers in organic farming encourage bumblebees as well as solitary wild bees and hoverflies. Bumblebee colonies benefit from flower strips along small fields, but in organic farming, they benefit from large fields.

Agroforestry is ‘win win’ for bees and crops

Image of trees in the woods.

(EurekAlert/University of Reading) A new study provides observed evidence that Planting woody plant species alongside crops can increase wild insect pollinator numbers and increases pollination. Researchers found agroforestry sites had double the number of solitary bees and hoverflies, and in arable agroforestry sites there were 2.4 times more bumblebees than in those with just one kind of crop.

Plan Bee: How farmers are using native mason bees to boost crop production

Image of mason bee in palm of hand.

(Capital Press) Jim Watts calls himself a farmer, but he doesn’t raise livestock or crops. Watts is a mason bee farmer. Watts Solitary Bees has two divisions: a commercial side that sells mason and leafcutter bees to large-scale producers, and a rental side, called Rent Mason Bees, that rents bees to small farms, backyard gardeners and urbanites. In recent years, many farmers say they have bought or rented mason bees because they are affordable, low maintenance, improve crop yields, repopulate areas with native species and even push honey bees working alongside them to be more efficient.

EPA asked to approve dinotefuran on apples, peaches, nectarines

Image of apple trees.

(Center for Biological Diversity) The Environmental Protection Agency is considering granting “emergency” approval of a neonicotinoid pesticide for use on more than 57,000 acres of fruit trees, including apples, peaches and nectarines, in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. If granted, this would mark the tenth straight year that emergency exemptions of dinotefuran have been granted in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania to target the brown marmorated stink bug on pome and stone fruit trees, which are highly attractive to bees.

New app helps Wisconsin farmers, researchers track wild bee populations

Image of app interface.

(University of Missouri) Researchers at the University of Missouri discovered that the spiny pollen from a native wild dandelion species in the southern Rocky Mountains has evolved to attach to traveling bumblebees. When compared with the average lawn dandelion, which does not need pollen to reproduce, the researchers saw that the pollen on the lawn dandelion has a shorter distance between these spines, making it harder to attach to traveling pollinators.

Bees, birds and butter: New study shows biodiversity critical for shea crop in Africa

Image of woman processing shea nuts.

(EurekAlert/Trinity College Dublin) Shea trees, an important agroforestry crop in West Africa, benefit from bees moving pollen between their flowers to produce fruit. A new study found that in sites with low tree and shrub diversity, fruit production was severely limited by a lack of pollination. In higher-diversity sites, more honey bees were observed, and other bees visited flowers in greater numbers, boosting pollination services.

Why are bees important in the vineyard?

Image of vineyards and estate house.

(Decanter) The correlation between bees and fine wine quality may not be an obvious one, but Nicole and Xavier Rolet of Ventoux’s Chêne Bleu wine estate feel so passionately about the subject that they are funding research into the role of bees in sustainable viticulture, focusing on beehives as a catalyst for fine wine.

Iowa farm group restoring habitat for bees, fish

Image of waterway.

(UPI) The Iowa Soybean Association is leading a project to convert several acres of unused agricultural land to habitat for endangered native bees and fish in coming years. The project is targeting habitat for the rusty patched bumble bee. Syngenta, a global seed and pesticide company, has agreed to provide tens of thousands of dollars of upcoming work.