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Decline of bees, other pollinators threaten the US crop



Decline of bees, other pollinators threaten the US crop

Bumblebee pollinating blueberry bushes. Credit: Winfree Lab

Crop yields for apples, cherries, and blueberries in the United States are reduced by a shortage of pollinators, according to a survey by Rutgers Science, the most comprehensive study of its kind to date.

Most of the world̵

7;s crops are dependent on pollination for honey bees and feral bees, so the decline in both farmed and feral bees raises food safety concerns, a journal study notes. Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences.

“We found that many crops are limited to pollination, which means that flower growing would be higher if flowers were pollinated more. We also found that honey bees and wild bees provide similar pollination overall, ”said Rachael Winfree, a professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources at the School of Environmental and Life Sciences at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. “Habitat management for native bee species and / or storage of more bees would increase pollination and could increase crop production.”

The study states that pollination by wild and controlled insects is crucial for most crops, including crops that provide essential micronutrients, and is essential for food security. In the US, it produces crops that depend on pollinators, more than $ 50 billion a year. According to the latest evidence, European honey bees (Apis mellifera) and some native wild bee species are declining.

At 131 farms in the United States and British Columbia, researchers collected data on pollination of crop flowers and yields for apples, blueberries, cherries, sour cherries, almonds, melons and pumpkins. Of these apples, cherries, cherries and blueberries, they have been shown to be limited by pollination, indicating that yields are currently lower than for full pollination. Wild bees and bees provided a similar amount of pollination for most crops.

The annual value of wild pollinator production for all seven crops was an estimated $ 1.5 billion plus in the United States. The value of wild bee pollination for all pollinator-dependent crops would be much higher.

“Our findings show that pollinator declines can translate directly into reduced yields for most crops studied,” the study said. The findings suggest that the adoption of practices that protect or spread wild bees, such as the promotion of wild flowers and the use of controlled pollinators other than honey bees, is likely to increase yields. Another alternative is to increase investment in hives.

James Reilly, a research associate at Winfree’s laboratory, led a study that used data collected by scientists at many universities and was part of an USDA-NIFA funded integrated crop pollution project for a special research crop.


Studies show that agriculture is a win-win for bees and crops


More information:
Crop cultivation in the US is often limited by a shortage of pollinators, Proceedings of the Royal Society, rspb.royalsocietypublishing.nebo … 1098 / rspb.2020.0922

Provided by Rutgers University



Citations: Decline of bees, other pollinators threaten US crop yields (2020, July 28), obtained on July 29, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-07-decline-bees-pollinators-threatens-crop.html

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