What is it about?
Most efforts to grow bee-friendly plants have concentrated on catering to the needs of the adult bees. This means “bee-friendly plants” are chosen based on the quantity of nectar and pollen produced by them and how frequently they are visited by the adult insects that feed on nectar. What impact does this have on the bees? Well, it seems the bees have been offered the equivalent of “junk food,” high in energy that might suit the adult bee but is nutritionally unbalanced in terms of baby bee (larval) food, which is actually the pollen. In my study I have shown that to develop effective strategies for bee conservation, larval nutritional needs for body-building substance should be considered. Accordingly, plants providing balanced nutritional diet for the larva should be considered in wildflower mixes prepared for bees as well as in planting flower strips and hedgerows.
Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash
Why is it important?
As a novel approach for addressing the issue of wild bee decline, I have developed effective strategies for bee conservation by considering the nutritional requirements of the larvae. By growing plants that supply the right food, we could ensure a revival in the bee population. As a start, plants that provide nutritionally balanced larval diet for a particular bee species (Osmia bicornis) were identified. This knowledge could be applied in the cultivation of bee-friendly plants as well as planting flower strips and hedgerows to act as pollen harvesting grounds for the bees.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: Key pollen host plants provide balanced diets for wild bee larvae: A lesson for planting flower strips and hedgerows, Journal of Applied Ecology, April 2019, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.13383.
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Creating bee-healthy diet plan(t)s
Jagiellonian University press release (you are free to republish this article).
Wild bees on a junk diet
Some plants that are considered bee-friendly may negatively affect the development of these insect`s larvae. The plants that produce pollen unsuitable for wild bees include lavender, poppy, sunflower, oilseed rape and maize, according to the research of Dr. Michał Filipiak from the Jagiellonian University.
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