Attracting wild bees to farms by investing in planting their natural habitat will provide higher harvest yields and will pay for itself in 4 years according to research studies out of Michigan State University
Historically, wild bees would have had access to a more diverse range of wildflowers to sustain them throughout the growing season. Currently, beekeepers transport honey bees into the area incurring a nationwide expense of $14 billion. This practice will not replace that practice but may supplement the cost.
“It will take some time and patience to realize the return, said Rufus Isaacs, professor and extension specialist in the entomology department
. “The Initial cost of planting can be covered by government programs that will help farmers see a return more quickly.”
The study was conducted in farms in western and northern Michigan because they are #1 in the nation for blueberry and tart cherry production. However, the research published in the study is useful for farmers across the state that grow fruits, vegetables and nut varieties that require the pollination of bees.
Blaauw was the lead author on the paper and is now at Rutgers University. Isaacs’ research is funded by the USDA and MSU’s AgBioResearch.
Source: Rufus Isaacs, Michigan State University
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor