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Organic wheat management supports bee communities

Mar 22, 2018

Photo credit: John Flannery

A recent study published in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment investigated the effects of organic vs. conventional farming in large- and small-scale agriculture on wild bee communities and the flowers that they rely on. Bees were sampled in 18 pairs of organic and conventional winter wheat fields and organic winter wheat field in Central Germany. Researchers found that the borders surrounding organic fields had more insect-pollinated flowers and more species of those flowers than conventional farms, likely due to the fact that herbicides are not used in organic production. Organic farms supported the most species of solitary bees, while landscapes with small-scale farms had more bumblebees. “Both organic farming and small-scale agriculture directly and indirectly supported different groups of wild bees, suggesting long-term benefits for conservation,” the authors concluded.

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