Bee may not be the be-all and end-all for crop pollination

December 7, 2015

From: The University of Queensland

Farmers who use pesticides that spare bees but kill other insects might be ignoring important sources of crop pollination, according to an Australian-led international 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 broadly explored the role of non-bee insects in crop pollination,” Dr Mayfield said.

“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.

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