Native Bees: Go Wild

music
ambience: honey bee swarm

Farmers around the world depend upon domesticated honey bees to pollinate their crops, but honey bees are in short supply, due to disease and the overuse of pesticides. The question is – could wild bees be used in place of their domesticated cousins? I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Claire Kremen is an Assistant Professor of Conservation Biology at Princeton University

“We’ve been interested in documenting the role that the wild bees play in crop pollination. How important are they? To what extent can they be sufficient in and of themselves for crop pollination? How do they augment the pollination provided by the managed honey bees? And we’ve found some really interesting things. First of all, looking at watermelon in California, we found that when the wild bee community is diverse and abundant, those wild bees can actually provide enough pollination services without adding the honey bee at all. So, for farms that are situated near to natural habitat and that are light on pesticide use, those farms have enough pollination services just from the wild bee community.”

“I think it’s clear that the honeybee is an extremely important part of our agricultural system, one that we need to protect and preserve as well, but I think that it’s time that we also put some resources and energy into ensuring that our wild pollinators are also protected, and can therefore contribute to crop production.”

We’ll hear more about wild bees in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

music

Native Bees: Go Wild

Could wild bees be used for pollinating agricultural crops?
Air Date:10/20/2004
Scientist:
Transcript:


music
ambience: honey bee swarm

Farmers around the world depend upon domesticated honey bees to pollinate their crops, but honey bees are in short supply, due to disease and the overuse of pesticides. The question is - could wild bees be used in place of their domesticated cousins? I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Claire Kremen is an Assistant Professor of Conservation Biology at Princeton University

“We’ve been interested in documenting the role that the wild bees play in crop pollination. How important are they? To what extent can they be sufficient in and of themselves for crop pollination? How do they augment the pollination provided by the managed honey bees? And we’ve found some really interesting things. First of all, looking at watermelon in California, we found that when the wild bee community is diverse and abundant, those wild bees can actually provide enough pollination services without adding the honey bee at all. So, for farms that are situated near to natural habitat and that are light on pesticide use, those farms have enough pollination services just from the wild bee community.”

“I think it’s clear that the honeybee is an extremely important part of our agricultural system, one that we need to protect and preserve as well, but I think that it’s time that we also put some resources and energy into ensuring that our wild pollinators are also protected, and can therefore contribute to crop production.”

We’ll hear more about wild bees in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

music