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Annual flowers strips benefit bumble bee colony growth and reproduction

Klatt, Björn K. LU ; Nilsson, Lovisa LU and Smith, Henrik G. LU (2020) In Biological Conservation 252.
Abstract

Bumble bees are important crop pollinators but are negatively impacted by agricultural intensification and concomitant loss of floral resources. Flower strips can increase the abundance and sometimes the diversity of bumble bees at local scales, but the importance of flower strips for bumble bee populations at larger scales remains poorly understood. We investigated the effect of flower strips on bumble bee colony growth and reproduction at landscape scales. Commercial bumble bee colonies of a native species (Bombus terrestris) were placed and monitored at different distances from flower strips that were sown on existing ecological focus areas (European Common Agricultural Policy) in southern Sweden. Both the average colony growth... (More)

Bumble bees are important crop pollinators but are negatively impacted by agricultural intensification and concomitant loss of floral resources. Flower strips can increase the abundance and sometimes the diversity of bumble bees at local scales, but the importance of flower strips for bumble bee populations at larger scales remains poorly understood. We investigated the effect of flower strips on bumble bee colony growth and reproduction at landscape scales. Commercial bumble bee colonies of a native species (Bombus terrestris) were placed and monitored at different distances from flower strips that were sown on existing ecological focus areas (European Common Agricultural Policy) in southern Sweden. Both the average colony growth (weight) and the production of reproductives (drones and queens) were highest for colonies adjacent to flower strips and declined with increasing distance. Colonies close to the flower strip also produced more reproductives per colony weight. Colony foraging activity was negatively related to the distance to flower strips whereas worker size was not affected. Annual flower strips in ecological focus areas benefit bumble bee colonies by increasing foraging success, colony growth and finally boosting sexual reproduction, demonstrating potential benefits for pollination within and between seasons. These effects were spatially limited but extended to foraging ranges of bumble bees. However, effects of increased colony growth on the abundance of foraging bees in the landscape may extend to larger distances because of forager movements within seasons and queen dispersal between seasons, suggesting that voluntary or incentivised collaboration between farmers may be needed to achieve optimal implementation of flower strips.

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; and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Agri-environmental schemes, Bombus, Bumble bee colony development, Ecological focus areas, Floral resources, Reproductive success
in
Biological Conservation
volume
252
article number
108814
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85096193159
ISSN
0006-3207
DOI
10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108814
project
Scale-dependence of mitigation of pollinator loss
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
16b15061-7e38-4b2c-b38b-0abc502499f4
date added to LUP
2020-12-09 15:20:39
date last changed
2021-04-16 14:05:33
@article{16b15061-7e38-4b2c-b38b-0abc502499f4,
  abstract     = {<p>Bumble bees are important crop pollinators but are negatively impacted by agricultural intensification and concomitant loss of floral resources. Flower strips can increase the abundance and sometimes the diversity of bumble bees at local scales, but the importance of flower strips for bumble bee populations at larger scales remains poorly understood. We investigated the effect of flower strips on bumble bee colony growth and reproduction at landscape scales. Commercial bumble bee colonies of a native species (Bombus terrestris) were placed and monitored at different distances from flower strips that were sown on existing ecological focus areas (European Common Agricultural Policy) in southern Sweden. Both the average colony growth (weight) and the production of reproductives (drones and queens) were highest for colonies adjacent to flower strips and declined with increasing distance. Colonies close to the flower strip also produced more reproductives per colony weight. Colony foraging activity was negatively related to the distance to flower strips whereas worker size was not affected. Annual flower strips in ecological focus areas benefit bumble bee colonies by increasing foraging success, colony growth and finally boosting sexual reproduction, demonstrating potential benefits for pollination within and between seasons. These effects were spatially limited but extended to foraging ranges of bumble bees. However, effects of increased colony growth on the abundance of foraging bees in the landscape may extend to larger distances because of forager movements within seasons and queen dispersal between seasons, suggesting that voluntary or incentivised collaboration between farmers may be needed to achieve optimal implementation of flower strips.</p>},
  author       = {Klatt, Björn K. and Nilsson, Lovisa and Smith, Henrik G.},
  issn         = {0006-3207},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Biological Conservation},
  title        = {Annual flowers strips benefit bumble bee colony growth and reproduction},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108814},
  doi          = {10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108814},
  volume       = {252},
  year         = {2020},
}