Wild Bees Make Honeybees Better Pollinators
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.
Andy Fell | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...