- Author: sarah yang
Fields with diversified, organic crops get more buzz from wild bees, concludes a synthesis of 39 studies on 23 crops around the world published March 11 in the journal Ecology Letters.
The study found that wild bees were more abundant in diversified farming systems. Unlike large-scale monoculture agriculture, which typically relies upon pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, diversified farming systems promote ecological interactions that lead to sustainable, productive agriculture. Such systems are...
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Colony collapse disorder (CCD) has certainly increased public awareness about bees — but also public misinformation about bees in general.
CCD, the mysterious phenomenon characterized by adult bees abandoning the hive, leaving behind the queen bee, immature brood and stored food, surfaced in the winter of 2006. Scientists believe CCD is caused by multiple factors: diseases, viruses, pesticides, pests, malnutrition and stress.
Meanwhile, misinformation about bees continues to surface. Posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media often caption a syrphid fly as a bee or a syrphid fly as a bumble bee. Magazine and newspaper editors frequently misidentify a syrhpid fly (aka flower fly and...
- Author: Ann King Filmer
Whether you’re trying to garden at home more sustainably (minimizing water use or using pollinators), or whether you want the most up-to-date information on beautiful new plants, new gardening practices, or new hardiness zones, I have assembled some practical information for home gardeners.
The horticultural staff of the UC Davis Arboretum have identified 100 tough, reliable plants for California that are easy to grow, don’t need a lot of water, have few problems with pests or diseases, and have outstanding qualities in the garden. Many of them are California native plants and support native birds and insects. Most All-Star plants can be successfully planted and...
- Author: Janet Byron
A lack of pollination by honey bees — brought on by increased insecticide use to control onion thrips — was linked to a sharp decrease in yields of California onion seeds, according to research published in the July-September 2011 issue of the University of California’s California Agriculture journal.
“Honey bee visits to onion flowers were negatively correlated with the number of insecticides applied per field and field size,” wrote the study’s authors, Rachael F. Long of UC Cooperative Extension in Yolo County and Lora Morandin of the Department of...
- Author: Ann Brody Guy
As it turns out, the farmer and the cowman should be friends, as the classic “Oklahoma!” song suggests. According to a just-published UC Berkeley study, wild bee species pollinate California crops to the tune of $937 million to $2.4 billion per year. That amounts to more than one-third of all pollination “services” to the state’s crops.
Many of those crop-pollinating wild bees live in rangelands – chiefly ranches that graze cattle.
“This means that preserving rangelands has significant economic value, not only to the ranchers who graze their cattle there, but also to farmers who need the pollinators,” said Claire Kremen, UC Berkeley associate professor of environmental science, policy and management,...