Scientists found that farmers may have a tiny and convenient ally in pollinating their crops – wild bees. A recent study shows that some of the little creatures are very industrious since only 2 percent of 22,000 wild bee species do nearly 80 percent of the crop pollination job around the world.
The study was conducted by a Dutch team from the Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands and was published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.
Scientists suggested that farmers worldwide should focus more on wild bees, by taking simple measure of attracting them around their crops. The study was actually a review of about 90 bee studies carried out on five continents.
Authors recommend authorities to protect the tiny wild bees as well, though they may seem not as valuable as honey bees. But on the long run, scientists believe, wild bees can turn into a valuable ally in the fight against climate change and its effects at planetary level.
Worldwide, wild bees are under stress from pesticides, reckless agriculture, and deforestation. So, protecting them may be more challenging than trying to protect honey bees.
Dr. David Kleijn, the lead author of the study, compared wild bees with soccer players in terms of productivity. He said that few were producing a lot of cash such as Cristiano Ronaldo, while some were able to make a living from the sport. But the vast majority (99.9 percent) played the game just for fun.
The study also found that among wild bees bumblebees and solitary bees were the ones that did all the hard work, or about 80 percent of the job of pollinating crops including tomatoes, apples and potatoes.
So, researchers recommended that farmers try by all means to lure the little pollinators to their crops by either keeping wild flowers or patches of grass near their crops.
“It should be helpful to farmers to know that the simple and cheap measures can give them what they need for pollination,”
noted Pat Wilmer from University of St Andrews in the U.K., who was not involved in the research.
Study authors also calculated how much money wild bees can make per every 2.5 acres with their work of pollination crops. Wild bees had a $3,000 per hectare output, while the most hardworking wild bee was the North American bumble bee which alone contributed $963 worth of pollination work for every 2.5 acres.
A past study showed that bee pollination was worth more than $171 billion a year for global food production.
Image Source: Snapzlife