Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Bees aren't the be all and end all for crop pollination, study suggests

Date: November 30, 2015
Source: University of Queensland

Farmers who used pesticides that spared bees but sacrificed killed other insects might be ignoring important sources of crop pollination, according to an Australian-led international scientific study.

University of Queensland plant ecologist Dr Margie Mayfield said many crops --including mangoes, custard apples, kiwi fruit, coffee and canola --depended on non-bee insect pollinators such as flies, butterflies, moths, beetles, wasps, ants, and thrips.

"Scientists haven't much broadly explored the role of non-bee insects in crop pollination," said Dr Mayfield, who is the Director of the Ecology Centre in UQ's School of Biological Sciences.

"The global reliance on honeybees for pollination is a risky strategy given the threats to the health of managed honeybee populations due to pests and diseases such as Varroa mites and colony collapse disorder.

"Non-bee insects are an insurance against bee population declines.

"We are trying to get the message out there to use scientific findings such as these to promote a change in agricultural practices."

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