Non-Bee Insects Are Also Important For Global Crop Pollination

Posted: Dec 1 2015, 5:59am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Non-Bee Insects are Also Important for Global Crop Pollination
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Science has proven that there are other pollinators besides bees. Bees thus do not have a monopoly in the scheme of natural pollination.

Farmers often use insecticides on their crops that while sparing the bees tend to target all other insect species. This is a huge mistake for which they might have to pay later on. As science has found, these other insect species are just as viable as pollinating agents as bees.

The Australian study had many experts on its team who discovered that many crops depended upon other pollinators than bees. These crops included: mangoes, custard apples, kiwi fruit, coffee and canola. Among the pollinators may be included: flies, butterflies, moths, beetles, wasps, ants and thrips.

The problem was that up until now, scientists had not studied insects other than bees which acted as pollinators. But now they know better. There is no such thing as a small or large entity in the workshop of creation.

All agents play their roles in food webs and what is useless for one entity is a source of life for another entity. The current scheme of using honey bees as pollination agents is risky business.

That is due to the fact that honey bees themselves are subject to various diseases. Pests such as Varroa mites and maladies such as colony collapse disorder may strike anytime.

By keeping all of its eggs in one basket, humanity is committing a big mistake. All other insect species besides bees are like a safety net that could be relied upon were the bee populations to collapse tomorrow.

Science has indeed come to the rescue this time around. It was high time agriculture underwent a revolution. There have been 39 studies on 1739 crops spanning five continents. Non-bee pollinators were responsible for 25% to 50% of the pollination. This is a hefty amount alright.

And despite the fact that the non-bee population of insects were no match in pollination capacity to the bees, they made up for this lack via multiple visits to the crops. Thus the similarity in pollinating power makes it clear that non-bee pollinators were not to be underestimated.

And these insects had other uses for mankind besides serving as pollinating agents. They had an advantage over bees. The fruit growth was more in plants when they visited them as compared to the bees. Finally, they were hardy and less prone to lose their environmental niche unlike the more sensitive honey bees.

The findings of this study were published in the journal PNAS.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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