Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - 11:18
Bees die off as flower species disappear: report
The decline of some bee species is directly related to the deterioration of the flowers where they get there food. Scientists have long suspected this, but Jeroen Scheper, bee specialist of the Alterra in Wageningen, has found evidence for this theory. Scheper, along with colleagues from the Universities of Leiden and Nijmegen, studied the pollen of bees in museum collections. In this way they mapped from which flowers and plants different bee species took their food the most. They discovered that there is a link between the decline of bee species and the deterioration of their favorite foods. "Our study showed that, for example, species that prefer to eat legumes, now appear less than in 1950", says Scheper. It was already known that legumes, like the clover, appear less frequent than before. According to the researchers, the decline of bee species can best be addressed by sowing specific flower mixtures. "Currently the standard mixture of flowers is planted. Many bees benefit, but not the bees who need it most", Says Scheper. "For this you need to sow specifically clover, bluebells and cornflowers."