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Attracting wild bees to farms is a good insurance policy
Date:4/3/2014

With 420 species of wild bees in Michigan alone, it makes sense to attract as many free pollinators as possible. However, this doesn't mean that this approach would replace honey bees, which are trucked in via beekeepers and pollinate crops valued at $14 billion nationwide, Isaacs said.

"Honey bees do a great job of pollinating blueberries, and we're not suggesting that growers stop using them," he said. "But, our research shows that adding some wild bee habitat to the farm can increase bee abundance in the nearby crop, can be profitable and is an insurance policy to make sure there is good pollination each year."

Establishing habitat for wild bees requires an initial investment, but there are existing federal and statewide programs, such as the USDA's Conservation Reserve Program and Michigan's State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement, to help pay for this. In such cases, growers could see their return on investment even quicker.


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Contact: Layne Cameron
layne.cameron@cabs.msu.edu
517-353-8819
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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