Sunday, 15 March 2015

Bees prefer road-side snacks

Posted on March 14, 2015 by Kevin Heath

A new study from Plymouth University seems to show that bumble bees would rather dodge the traffic when foraging on hedges than pop over the other side for a peaceful snack in a field.

After study hedgerows at 30 locations in Devon and Cornwall the researchers concluded that road-facing hedges offered more resources to bees than the side that faced an agricultural field. The reason, they concluded, was that pesticides from agricultural spraying made the road-facing side of the hedge more beneficial to the bee.

Two things could be concluded from the study. The first is the importance of road-side verges to bees and other pollinators. These verges should be viewed as important habitats and taken into account when developing conservation studies.

The second was a need to change the management of crop-spraying to ensure enough margin was left between the crops and boundary hedgerows to prevent contamination.

Dr Mick Hanley, Lecturer in Terrestrial Ecology in the University’s School of Biological Sciences, conducted the study alongside undergraduate Josh Wilkins, and they examined bumblebee habits at 30 sites across Devon and Cornwall.

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