Farmers’ lack of bees might be solved by going wild

“The findings have important implications for agricultural and land-use policies worldwide, said study leader Lucas A. Garibaldi, an agricultural scientist at the National University of Rio Negro in Argentina: Unless habitats for wild insects are protected and nurtured, farmers around the world could face a future of drastically lower yields.

Scientists have long warned that plowing landscapes into vast, single-crop fields and orchards eliminates the range of soil, wildflowers and other vegetation that is crucial to support multiple species of wild pollinators, including bees, flies, beetles and butterflies. As these insect populations have dwindled, farmers have resorted to using rented interlopers, generally Apis mellifera, during flowering season.

“Honeybees cannot replace the service wild bees provide,” Garibaldi said. “Biodiversity in agricultural landscapes matters and can help increase production.”

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California’s Honeybee Plight and the EU is Looking at Banning Neonictinoid Pesticides

This winter bee colonies have been hit hard in the United States and this blog post talks about what is looking like a bee crisis in California.  The big question is whether there is going to be enough honeybees to pollinate this year’s crops there and in other states.

In the new the European Union is considering a 2 year ban on neonictinoid pesticides that some studies have linked to Colony Collapse Disorder and the disappearance of honeybees.  “This is only the beginning, Lodesani says: “Modern farming requires a complete change of thinking, away from a reliance on chemicals and back to a respect for biodiversity.” In other words, he says, when we talk about bees and crops, we are really talking about canaries and coal mines.”