According to recent media reports the European Commission seems poised to ban some of Europe’s most widely used pesticides to protect bees and other pollinators, but is the move likely to have an impact on food production and security? Scientists at the James Hutton Institute have demonstrated that many farmers can reduce agrochemical inputs by using alternative pest control methods without reducing yield or quality.
New research involving the University of East Anglia has revealed for the first time that flower-rich habitats are key to enhancing the survival of bumblebee families between years.
The results, which come from the largest ever study of its kind on wild bumblebee populations, will help farmers and policy makers manage the countryside more effectively to provide for these vital but declining pollinators.
As Britain voted for Brexit amid furious debate over migration, trillions of migrants were coming and going, unseen by all but the sharpest eyes.
A new review indicates that flowers may be able to manipulate the laws of physics, by playing with light, using mechanical tricks, and harnessing electrostatic forces to attract pollinators.
The New Phytologist review describes the latest advances in our understanding of how plants use their flowers to ensure reproductive success. Flowers use light to attract pollinators by creating colour using microscopic structures or chemical effects. Using gravity to their advantage, petals cause pollinators to slip or grip when they land on a flower, ensuring that they transfer pollen without taking too much of the sugary nectar reward. Plants may even alter their electrical fields to influence pollinator visits.
“It is surprising to many people that plants use the laws of physics to their advantage in attracting pollinators, but of course it makes sense that evolution has used all the available opportunities to enhance plant fitness,” said Dr. Beverley Glover (University of Cambridge), co-author of the review.
Article source: Wiley