Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wild Bees Make Honeybees Better Pollinators

Date:
September 24, 2006
Source:
University of California - Davis
Summary:
Up to a third of our food supply depends on pollination by domesticated honeybees, but the insects are up to five times more efficient when wild bees buzz the same fields.

Honeybee.
Credit: Image courtesy of USDA

Up to a third of our food supply depends on pollination by domesticated honeybees, but the insects are up to five times more efficient when wild bees buzz the same fields, according to a study published Aug. 28 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

"As honeybees become more scarce, it becomes more important to have better pollinators," said Sarah Greenleaf, a postdoctoral researcher at UC Davis and first author on the study.

As a graduate student at Princeton University, Greenleaf carried out a two-year study of honeybees used to pollinate sunflower crops on farms in Yolo County, Calif., near UC Davis.

Compared to honeybees, wild bees did not contribute much directly to crop pollination. But on farms where wild bees were abundant, honeybees were much more effective in pollinating flowers and generating seeds, Greenleaf found.

There appear to be two reasons for that. Male wild bees, probably looking for mates, will latch onto worker honeybees, which are sterile females, causing them to move from one flower to another. Secondly, female wild bees appear to "dive bomb" honeybees, forcing them to move. Frequent movement between flowers spreads pollen around more effectively.

Greenleaf and her co-author Claire Kremen, now a professor at UC Berkeley, calculated that wild bees contributed about $10 million of value to the $26-million sunflower industry alone.

All the fields in the study were conventionally farmed, but varied in their proximity to natural habitat, Greenleaf said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Davis. "Wild Bees Make Honeybees Better Pollinators." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060921201850.htm>.
University of California - Davis. (2006, September 24). Wild Bees Make Honeybees Better Pollinators. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060921201850.htm
University of California - Davis. "Wild Bees Make Honeybees Better Pollinators." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060921201850.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) We all know that it is important to eat our fruits and vegetables but do you know which ones are the best for you? Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Panda Might Have Faked Pregnancy To Get Special Treatment

Panda Might Have Faked Pregnancy To Get Special Treatment

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) A panda in China showed pregnancy symptoms that disappeared after two months of observation. One theory: Her pseudopregnancy was a ploy for perks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) It took Houston firefighters more than an hour to free a puppy who got its head stuck in a tire. (Aug. 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins