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Seeking insurance pollinators for backup role to honey bees

Seeking insurance pollinators for backup role to honey bees

In days when honeybees face increasing threats from diseases and pesticide-intensive farming, interest is growing in “insurance” pollinators. Blue orchard bees are just one example of an alternative to honeybee pollination on the buzzing edge of research.

From Science News:

Farms of the future could offer some strange sights, and California isn’t a bad place to go searching for them. On the edge of a yet-to-be-planted field northwest of Bakersfield, for example, stands what looks like a white clothes closet that has run away from home.

It’s a bee lock. Instead of keeping air from escaping, the way an air lock on a submarine or space station does, this box will prevent bees from zipping out of a five-acre mesh tent, explained pollination biologist Gordon Wardell of Paramount Farming during a tour last winter.

At the time of the tour, the tent was under construction, with rows of sturdy poles marching away from the bee lock under swoops of fine gray mesh. But by springtime, mesh will enclose the entire field. Red, yellow and blue nesting boxes will dangle from the poles in an experiment in raising bees that may one day pollinate some of Paramount’s thousands of acres of almond trees.

For more, see: Backup Bees

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