Habitat Quality And Biodiversity Affect Bee Health, Study Finds
The promotion of the future health of honeybee colonies that are managed as well as those that are wild requires taking into consideration the particular habitat requirements of the colonies, such as the number of wildflowers present. Increasing the quantity of natural habitat that surrounds croplands, for example, may lead to an increase in bee diversity but may have a negative impact on the general health of bees.
These are the most important findings from a recent study that looked at several thousand bees from sixty different species that were collected in Michigan. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the quantity and quality of bee habitat that surrounds small farm fields and the prevalence of common viral diseases in bee colonies.
Pollination by bees is essential to agriculture and helps maintain a rich range of flowering plant species around the globe. However, during the past few decades, populations of native bees as well as honeybee colonies that have been managed, have decreased. This can be attributed to a number of interrelated issues, such as the loss of habitat, parasites and diseases, and the use of pesticides.
In the course of gathering data for Fearon’s doctoral dissertation at the University of Michigan, she and her coworkers netted and trapped more than 4,900 bees at 14 winter squash farms in the southeast corner of the state. These farms are located in an area where honeybees and wild native bees pollinate the squash flowers.
The bees were examined to see whether or not they contained any of these three common viral infections. Lower levels of virus were inextricably connected to greater species richness, often known as biodiversity, within the local bee groups time and time again. There were anywhere from seven to forty-nine different species of bees on each property.
These findings, which were published in the journal Ecology in February 2021, gave support for the dilution effect, as it is known among ecologists. According to this contentious theory, an increase in the planet’s biodiversity has the potential to slow down or perhaps stop the spread of infectious diseases.
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