More wild bees good for humans

This video from the USA says about itself:

25 August 2015

Everyone knows honey bees, but the world is full of different kinds of bee species that are important for pollinating many plants. Dr. Margarita Lopez-Uribe, a specialist on bees, shows how important and diverse bees are in this older Naturalist Outreach STEM video.

This video was produced by Drs. Linda Rayor, Margarita Lopez-Uribe, and Cornell University’s Naturalist Outreach Program. The videos were funded by Cornell Cooperative Extension and New York State 4-H. Look into both programs for more good STEM materials and videos.

From Rutgers University in the USA:

The more kinds of bees, the better for humans

Study of 48 farms in two states shows abundance of species means lots of pollination

February 15, 2018

The larger an area, the more species of wild bees are needed to pollinate crops, a Rutgers University study shows.

The findings appear today in the journal Science.

Many controlled ecological experiments have shown increased pollination results from having more species, but the Rutgers-led study is one of the first to confirm that increase in nature. The researchers observed, collected and identified more than 100 species of wild bees pollinating crop flowers on 48 farms in New Jersey and Pennsylvania over several years. More than half (55) of these species were needed for pollination at one or more farms in one or more years.

Pollination is an “ecosystem service” — one of the life-sustaining benefits, like clean air and water, we receive from nature.

“Our results confirm the importance of biodiversity in keeping the planet habitable for human beings, at least if our findings apply to other ecosystem functions as well”, said lead author Rachael Winfree, a Rutgers University-New Brunswick ecologist.

Scientists estimate that wild pollinators provide as much as half the crop pollination that occurs worldwide. At a time when domestic honeybees in North America are beset with colony collapse and other problems, the role of wild pollinators becomes even more important.

“I like to think of this as a real-world question,” Winfree said. “These are real farms and real farmers, and each farmer needs his crops pollinated. The answer turns out to be, that when you require that all farms are pollinated, you need an order of magnitude more bee species than has been needed in experiments.”

In her earlier work, Winfree made several suggestions for farmers and landowners who wanted to encourage wild pollinators to pollinate their crops.

“Farmers can plant fallow fields and road edges with flowering plants, preferably plants whose flowering periods are different, because wild pollinators need to be supported throughout the growing season,” Winfree said. “They can reduce pesticide use and avoid spraying during crop bloom when more bees are in the crop field.”

The study also included researchers from Rutgers, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas in Spain, the University of Minnesota, the University of California-Davis, and the University of Manitoba.

Wild bees are indispensable pollinators, supporting both agricultural productivity and the diversity of flowering plants worldwide. But wild bees are experiencing widespread declines resulting from multiple interacting factors. A new University of Michigan-led study suggests that the effects of one of those factors — urbanization — may have been underestimated: here.

Why humans, and Big Macs, depend on bees, Thor Hanson talks about his new book, Buzz. By Erika Engelhaupt, 8:00am, July 8, 2018.

A large-scale study has drawn together the findings of a decade of agrochemical research to confirm that pesticides used in crop protection have a significant negative impact on the learning and memory abilities of bees: here.

Scientists have discovered the first case of male bees babysitting, and it turns out that these males often aren’t biological bee dads but hopeful stepdads of the youngsters. Females of a small bluish-black Mediterranean bee (Ceratina nigrolabiata) dig out the pith of plant stems to make a nest, where a mom lays her eggs. Unlike honeybees, these are solitary bees with no colony of daughter-workers. Without that help, the mom herself must collect nectar and pollen to feed the young. But these are no latchkey larvae. In 78 nests that researchers watched for 90 minutes, an adult male bee stayed in the nest’s entrance, rump outward, while the mom was out foraging. A male rear blocked a menacing ant that researchers put at the entrance in 41 attempted attacks. And in more than half of these attempted invasions, males pushed the ant out of the nest, says behavioral ecologist Michael Mikát of Charles University in Prague: here.

USA: Researchers have found a dramatic decline of 14 wild bee species that are, among other things, important across the Northeast for the pollination of major local crops like apples, blueberries and cranberries: here.

14 thoughts on “More wild bees good for humans

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  5. Dear friends across Europe,

    We just won a major victory to protect bees in Europe — but 13 EU countries are undermining the deal by allowing the bee-killing pesticides to be used anyway!

    The European Commission has the power to fix this and protect the ban they championed. But the story is hardly making the news and unless we expose this scandal, the ban-cheaters will get away with it.

    In 24 hours, the Commission and EU member states are meeting to discuss our bees. Let’s show them citizens stand behind a real ban — then deliver our voices through the media and to the EU Health Commissioner who considers himself a bee champion. Sign now and share widely:

    Click to close the bee-killing loophole

    The Commission claims to protect bees from harmful pesticides — here’s their chance to show how serious they are! Nearly half of EU countries have broken the ban on neonicotinoids, and will continue to use flimsy arguments of fake emergencies unless the Commission acts.

    Neonic dispensations are only meant for emergency insect attacks, but Romania, Finland and 11 other countries seem to be granting them repeatedly, often with no evidence of an emergency! The agriculture lobby say farmers need to use even worse pesticides if they can’t use neonics — but farmers in Sweden and elsewhere have shown that it’s absolutely possible to predict insect attacks and protect crops without using neonics or other pesticides preventively.

    In most cases, only the European Commission receives information from EU member states about the dispensations granted — and only they hold the power to close the dispensation loophole. Let’s share this everywhere and win this battle for the bees!

    Click to close the bee-killing loophole

    Together, we’ve defended the bees for years, and we’re winning! We launched a massive advocacy campaign all over Europe, that helped secure the recent EU ban and we’ve funded crucial research linking pesticides to the rapid decrease in the world’s bee populations. Now let’s win this one too!

    With hope and determination,

    Antonia, Signe, Lisa, Camille, Christoph and the whole Avaaz team

    More information:

    Attack of the bee killers (Politico)

    Andriukaitis: Commissions is ‘consistent’ with science on neonics (Euractiv)

    EU agrees on total ban on bee-harming pesticides (The Guardian)


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