Forst- und Lebensmittelwissenschaften HAFL, 3052 Zollikofen

Flower strips encourage honey bees and wild bees

Honey bees and wild bees are essential for agricultural production and biodiversity, but have come under pressure worldwide. Besides the varroa mite, diseases and environmental toxins, lack of food is likely to be an important stress factor. For this reason, it is hoped that flower strips in the cultivated landscape will reduce the nectar dearth from late May to late July. From 2011 to 2015, flower-strip mixtures supplying pollen and nectar to honey bees and non-specialised bees during this summer gap, but which also appealed to agriculturally important beneficials such as hoverflies and predatory bugs, were developed at HAFL, the School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences. A comparison with extensively managed meadows, fallow lands and margins revealed that flower strips offer nourishment to many honey bees and nonspecialised wild bees. In addition, a 2015 case study with bumblebees showed that the proximity of a flower strip has a positive influence on colony development. A further positive aspect of flower strips most likely also lies in the fact that they reduce food competition between honey bees and wild bees in the remaining flowering areas.

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