Forget about honey, pollen and royal jelly. Just think of a world without beans, tomatoes, onions and carrots, not to mention the hundreds of other vegetables, oilseeds and fruits that are dependent upon bees for pollination. And the livestock that are dependent upon bee-pollinated forage plants, such as clover. No human activity or ingenuity could ever replace the work of bees and yet it is largely taken for granted. It is often not realized just how easy it is to help or hinder their effectiveness as crop pollinators nor how much is lost by their loss.
by Heather Callaghan
If you plant it, they will come. A new study confirms the crucial aid that typical British gardeners might unknowingly provide to rapidly declining pollinators. According to Ecologists at Plymouth University, it matters not to busy bees where they are are getting their food sources. When searching for nectar and pollen, urban gardens make happy destinations for bumblebees. In fact, it might seem counter intuitive but urban dwellings can provide a safer area for bees that otherwise might get exposed to so much agricultural spraying.
Europe has fiercely felt the bee decline, prompting a pesticide moratorium after initially crumbling to corporate interests.
Dr Mick Hanley, Lecturer in Ecology at Plymouth University, said the study showed the continued importance of promoting diversity and encouraging gardeners to cast their net wide when choosing what to cultivate.
Urban gardens are increasingly recognised for their potential to maintain or even enhance biodiversity. In …
The study showed that bees simply visited plants in proportion to flower availability. Indeed, of the six most commonly visited garden plants, only one – Foxglove – was a British native.
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