Skip to main content

Life sciences/Plant sciences/Plants/Angiosperms

Wild insects pollinate major agricultural crops—from cotton to blueberries—more effectively than hives of honeybees managed by humans, according to a massive international study.

In their report in the 1 March issue of Science, Lucas Garibaldi of Universidad Nacional de Río Negro in Argentina and colleagues also conclude that honeybees only add to the pollinating power of the wild insects, and can’t replace their pollination services.

PARIS—A widely used insecticide can threaten the health of bumblebee colonies and interfere with the homing abilities of honeybees, according to a pair of new studies. The reports, one by a U.K. team and one by a French team, were published 29 March at the Science Express Web site of the journal Science.

Bumblebees and honeybees are important pollinators of flowering plants, including many major fruit and vegetable crops. Each year, for example, honeybee hives are driven from field to field to help pollinate almond, apple, and blueberry crops, among others.