The value of uncropped field margins for foraging bumblebees

Kells, Andrea R, Holland, John M and Goulson, Dave (2001) The value of uncropped field margins for foraging bumblebees. Journal of Insect Conservation, 5 (4). pp. 283-291. ISSN 1366-638X

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Abstract

The intensification of agriculture has led to declines in species diversity and abundance within groups of certain flora and fauna. Bumblebees (Bombus spp.) are one group where a decline has been documented, and it is thought to be attributable to a decrease in forage resources and potential nest sites. As bumblebees play an important role in the pollination of many entomophilous crops, this decline could impact on agricultural productivity. We examined the role of naturally regenerated field margins in providing forage plants on land where nectar resources are otherwise impoverished. The following question was addressed - Are naturally regenerated unsprayed field margins more attractive to foraging bumblebees and honeybees than cropped field margins managed as conservation headlands? Significantly more bees visited naturally regenerated field margins than cropped field margins. Honeybees (Apis mellifera), Bombus terrestris, and Bombus lapidarius were the most commonly observed bee species. Different wildflower species within the naturally regenerated margins varied greatly in relative number of visits received, and bumblebee species were found to prefer different flower species to honeybees. The potential role that naturally regenerated field margins could play in the conservation of bumblebee species, and the implications for other species of flora and fauna, are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Depositing User: Catrina Hey
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2014 10:31
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2014 10:31
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/51268
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