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Old 03-29-2009, 07:34 PM   #1
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Default Good News- U.S. Growers Foster Wild Bees and Bee-Friendly Gardens

U.S. Growers Foster Wild Bees and Bee-Friendly Gardens

U.S. Growers Foster Wild Bees and Bee-Friendly Gardens
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LANSING, Michigan, March 24, 2009 (ENS) Honeybees across the country are dying by the millions due to colony collapse disorder and other environmental factors, causing many growers of fruits, nuts and vegetables to wonder how their future crops will be pollinated. A study released today shows that wild bees, which are not affected by the deadly disorder, may become a pollination alternative.

Authors Julianna Tuell and and Rufus Isaacs of Michigan State University and John Ascher of the American Museum of Natural History conducted a three-year study of bees on 15 southwestern Michigan blueberry farms. Using traps and direct observation, the researchers identified 166 bee species, 112 of which were active during the blueberry blooming period.
With funding support from ice cream manufacturer Haagen Dazs, the Penn State Master Gardeners program last year launched a statewide campaign to establish 40 pollinator-friendly community demonstration gardens and to educate home gardeners about how they can provide safe havens for honeybees and other struggling pollinators.
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The program focuses on creating landscapes that can strengthen and increase native pollinator populations, explained Ginger Pryor, extension associate in horticulture and state Master Gardener coordinator. "Because landscapes have been extremely fragmented due to urbanization, suburbanization and development, we would like to have homeowners and gardeners rethinking their space."
The article discusses how our collective preference for turf is forcing bees to fly for miles to reach food and pollen. See what they're doing to encourage homeowners to choose bee-friendly plants.
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:44 PM   #2
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Default Wild Bees Can Be Effective Pollinators

Wild Bees Can Be Effective Pollinators
ScienceDaily (Mar. 25, 2009)

Wild Bees Can Be Effective Pollinators
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Over the past few years, honey bee keepers have experienced problems due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which has hurt honey bee populations, causing some growers of fruits, nuts and vegetables to wonder how their crops will be pollinated in the future.

A new study published in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America shows that wild bees, which are not affected by CCD, may serve as a pollination alternative.
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Entomological Society of America Wild Bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Anthophila) of the Michigan High...
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:45 AM   #3
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Most bees captured were solitary, soil-nesting bees.
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Several native Osmia species that were present in low abundance during bloom are potential targets for management.
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Honey bees were more often captured in white than in yellow traps, regardless of trap position in the field.
Wild bees were more often captured in field perimeters than interiors, but they did not respond differentially to trap color.
It has often been assumed that honey bees were the best candidates for managing pollination. Recent problems with these creatures has shown how we ignore the native bees at our peril.
Some bumble bees are being used to pollinate in greenhouse agriculture,soil dwellers are used out west by alfalfa growers and fruit growers seem to prefer a few cavity dwelling species.

Knowing that soil dwellers were most abundant in the above study why did they decide that the cavity nesters were more desirable.
Maybe because the nests can be moved for agricultural needs and kept cool to slow release.
Maybe it is easier to supply space and nesting provisions?

What ever the reasons I hope some lessons have been learned and over management of only some native species of bees does not occur.
A comprehensive look at what it will take to keep a diverse populaion of bees inhabiting every ecosystem is what is needed to keep future collapses from occurring.
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:58 AM   #4
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It's nice to see a silver lining to the honey bee decline. Thanks for sharing the good news!
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:08 AM   #5
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Few people seem to realize that the vast majority of insect pollination is done by native pollinators. The one notable exception is the huge agricultural monoculture form of food production. Perhaps we should consider an alternative to the monocultures instead of alternative pollinators.
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