Seasonal progression and differences in major floral resource use by bees and hoverflies in a diverse horticultural and agricultural landscape revealed by DNA metabarcoding

In their new study, Abigail Lowe and colleagues discuss why we need to know which pollinators use which plants in which seasons throughout the year, so that we can support them effectively. In the last few years, we have seen an immense increase in public support for pollinators with many choosing to buy pollinator-friendly plants for their garden. However, even with these good intentions, it’s … Continue reading Seasonal progression and differences in major floral resource use by bees and hoverflies in a diverse horticultural and agricultural landscape revealed by DNA metabarcoding

The Disproportionate Value of ‘Weeds’ to Pollinators and Biodiversity

In their latest research, Nicholas Balfour and Francis Ratnieks use multiple datasets to compare the biodiversity value of the plant species classified as ‘injurious weeds’ by the UK’s 1959 Weeds Act, with those species stipulated by DEFRA for pollinator targeted agri-environmental options. In the UK, five species of native wildflowers are classified as “injurious weeds” in the 1959 Weeds Act. Three of them are frequently … Continue reading The Disproportionate Value of ‘Weeds’ to Pollinators and Biodiversity

Beneficial arthropod abundance assessed by sweep-netting is negatively associated with landscape-wide insecticide use

In a new study, Bakker, Bianchi and van der Werf assess how the use of insecticides and semi-natural landscapes impact beneficial arthropods in the Netherlands. Beneficial arthropods, like predators, parasitoids and pollinators, provide important ecosystem services such as biological pest control and pollination, and are therefore vital for ecosystem health and global food production. However, concerns have risen on the widespread decline of arthropods — … Continue reading Beneficial arthropod abundance assessed by sweep-netting is negatively associated with landscape-wide insecticide use

Knowing where your coffee comes from has the potential to aid restoration efforts 

In a new study, González-Chaves and colleagues assessed pollination benefits at a national scale by identifying where pollination services are more likely to be provided by native bees as a result of forest conservation. Coffee is a highly traded crop, which is produced in the tropics and enjoyed across the globe. Like most crops, coffee benefits from pollination services. However, this is rarely considered by … Continue reading Knowing where your coffee comes from has the potential to aid restoration efforts 

Identifying plant species mixes that promote multiple ecosystem services in agro-ecosystems

In their latest research, Windsor et al. demonstrate the importance of considering multiple ecosystem services and disservices when designing plant mixes for field margin management. Plants in field margins serve a multifunctional role, supporting a range of important ecological processes and ecosystem services. Management schemes to date, however, have focused on individual ecological processes/services (i.e., pollination or natural pest control). Indeed, Countryside Stewardship Grants to … Continue reading Identifying plant species mixes that promote multiple ecosystem services in agro-ecosystems

Bee abundance estimates vary by collection method and flowering richness

Monitoring bee populations is becoming increasingly important and commonplace, but do current methods produce reliable estimates of bee communities? Authors Marirose Kuhlman and Philip Hahn explore this question in their latest research. Wild bees are the main pollinators in nearly all terrestrial ecosystems and are essential to the reproductive cycles of many native plants, agricultural crops, and to the success of habitat restoration projects. Because … Continue reading Bee abundance estimates vary by collection method and flowering richness

Semi-natural grassland strips promote agricultural biodiversity depending on species characteristics

New research by Maas and colleagues shows how the interplay between species-specific traits, functions, and services can inform more targeted, sustainable management of agricultural biodiversity. Agricultural biodiversity is declining worldwide, and its conservation does not work through one-size-fits-all solutions. Species respond differently to agricultural developments and new management measures, depending on their individual characteristics – which has major implications for the management of species-specific functions … Continue reading Semi-natural grassland strips promote agricultural biodiversity depending on species characteristics

Do roads pose a significant barrier to bee movement?

Did the bee cross the road? If not, why not – and what does this mean for the flowers on the other side? In their latest research, Fitch & Vaidya investigate the influence of roads on pollinator movement and pollination by examining patterns of pigment transfer between focal plants of two species. We know that large highways kill billions of insects each year, but whether roads … Continue reading Do roads pose a significant barrier to bee movement?

When stressed by both pesticides and parasites, honey bees do better than expected

In their latest research, Bird and colleagues perform a meta‐analysis to gain a clearer view of the combined effects of parasites and pesticides on honey bee health. Honey bees pollinate about a third of all crops. Without them, the production of everything from almonds to zucchinis would grind to halt, which makes it especially alarming that honey bees have being dying at increasing rates over … Continue reading When stressed by both pesticides and parasites, honey bees do better than expected

What limits bumblebee populations on farmland?

A new study by Timberlake and colleagues finds that late summer nectar supply on farmland has an important influence on bumblebee colony density the following year – does this offer an opportunity to devise more targeted agri-environment schemes for pollinators? Pollen and nectar are the primary food source for most adult pollinators, and in the case of bees, their larvae too. It is no surprise … Continue reading What limits bumblebee populations on farmland?