Protecting more wild bees will save our food supply

Protecting more wild bees will save our food supply

SCIENCE 17 JUNE 15 by DANIEL CULPAN
http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-06/17/wild-bees-saving-crops

A study has found that wild bees are just as vital as honeybees for pollinating food crops around the world — and protecting a wider range of species could help to safeguard future food production.

In a survey carried out by scientists from the University of Reading’s Centre for Agri-Environmental Research, it was discovered that just 2 per cent of wild bee species are responsible for 80 per cent of the globe’s pollinated crops: from strawberries and rapeseed to cacao chocolate and coffee beans.

This comes at a time when worldwide honeybee colonies are in serious decline, falling from around 250,000 working UK colonies in the 1950s to fewer than 100,000 in 2015. The value of wild bee pollination in Britain is estimated at £1 billion a year, with a small number of species — including bumblebees and solitary bees — carrying out work worth around £1,900 per hectare of farmland.

The study, published in Nature Communications, reviewed data from five continents on wild bee pollination. However, despite revealing the industriousness of just a handful of the flying insects, researchers said that bee conservation should be extended to a greater range of bees in order to guard against climate change, pesticides and other negative impacts on the bee population.

Professor Simon Potts, director of the Centre, said: “The few bee species that currently pollinate our crops are unlikely to be the same types we will need in the future.

“It is critical to protect a wide range of bees and other insects now so that, as Britain’s climate, environment and crop varieties change, we can call on the pollinating species which are best suited to the task.”

One comment

  • theunhivedmind

    So as you can see from this article, it’s the wild bees which do the real work and rest assured wild bees just like organic bees will not be suffering from colony collapse. Only man-made non-traditional hive farming suffers CCD. So when you see all the fearmongering you now know that it’s just trickery to fool you into accepting Malthusian green policies of death and hitting your wallet to keep you in debt slavery. I should also point out the dangers of Rapeseed and as far as I’m concerned this poison should be removed from the environment.

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