The pesticide-free pastures could be simple to establish, and--at perhaps only a half-acre each--easy to tend, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist James H. Cane. He's based at the Pollinating Insects Biology, Management, and Systematics Research Unit operated by USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Logan, Utah. ARS is USDA’s principal intramural scientific research agency.
Bee pasturing isn't a new idea. But studies by Cane and his collaborators, conducted in a research greenhouse and at outdoor sites in Utah and California, are likely the most extensive to date.
Two bee businesses are already using the findings to propagate more bees.
The research indicates that species of pastured pollinators could include, for example, the blue orchard bee, Osmia lignaria. This gentle bee helps with pollination tasks handled primarily by the nation's premier pollinator, the European honey bee, Apis mellifera. Cane estimates that, under good conditions, blue orchard bee populations could increase by as much as four- to fivefold a year in a well-designed, well-managed bee pasture.
Cane and colleagues have studied wildflowers that might be ideal for planting at bee pastures in California. In particular, the team was interested in early-flowering annuals that could help bolster populations of blue orchard bees needed to pollinate California's vast almond orchards.
The research, funded by ARS and the Modesto-based Almond Board of California, resulted in a first-ever list of five top-choice, bee-friendly wildflowers for tomorrow's bee pastures in almond-growing regions. These pasture-perfect native California plants are: Chinese houses (Collinsia heterophylla), California five-spot (Nemophila maculata), baby blue eyes (N. menziesii), lacy or tansy phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia), and California bluebell (P. campanularia).
Cane has presented results of his research to almond growers at workshops.
Read more about the research in the August 2010 issue of Agricultural Research magazine, available online at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/aug10/bee0810.htm.
This pollinator research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).
Marcia Wood | Newswise Science News
More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine
19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy