Flies masquerading as bees show potential sources of pollen

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A small bee con artist, the hoverfly, could be of great help to some gardens and farms, according to a new study from Washington State University.

Anne Observational study In western Washington, more than 2,400 pollinators visited flowers on urban and rural farms, about 35% of which were from flies, most of which were black and yellow striped hoverflies, also known as hoverflies. done.For some plantOnly flies, including peas, kale, and lilies, were seen among the pollens. Overall, bees are still the most common, accounting for around 61% of flower visits, while the rest is done by other insects and spiders.

“We found that there was a really dramatic number of pollens visiting flowers other than bees,” said a WSU postdoctoral fellow. Internet food.. “The majority of pollens other than bees were flies, and most were hoverflies, a group that generally mimics bees.”

The bee-like color of the hoverfly can help avoid predators who are afraid of getting stung, but unlike the four bees, there are two hoverflies. Olson added that flies can provide additional benefits to plants as they feed on pests such as aphids in the form of larvae. As adults, they eat nectar and visit flowers, which is less intentional than bees that collect pollen and feed their children, but they can move pollen the same way bees do.

For the research, the researchers studied plants, pollinating insects and spiders on 19 rural farms and 17 farms. Urban agriculture Gardens along Interstate 5 in western Washington. They conducted six separate investigations over a two-year period. In addition to bee and hoverfly visits, rarer visits from other arthropods such as bees, lacewing, spiders, butterflies, dragonflies, beetles and ants have also been recorded. All visits were less than 4%.

Olson first noticed many different non-bee pollen materials while working on a bee research project led by recent WSU doctoral graduate Elias Bloom. According to Olson, the results of this study underscore that not only researchers but also gardeners and farmers need to pay more attention to alternative pollens, and similar studies will be carried out elsewhere in the country. I was hoping for that.

“The bee population is in decline and we are trying to help them, but there is room for all the pollen material,” Olson said. “A lot of effort has gone into protecting and monitoring bees, but not as much as some other pollinators. What we really need is more types of pollination. People will be surprised to find insects. All they have to do is start paying more attention to them. “

The study also looked at the differences in pollen material between rural and urban areas. Urban observation sites have shown an increased diversity of pollen material in response to the wide range of plants grown in urban gardens and small farms. Rural farms with large fields of plants were more abundant.

Olson recommended increasing the variety of flowering plants for all growers in urban or rural areas who wish to increase the number and diversity of pollen producers visiting fields and gardens.

Ensuring that something blooms throughout the season, even at the edge of the field, is pollen material biodiversity, as different life stages of pollen material occur at different times of the year. Supports sex.

“Some pollen material, such as some butterflies and moths, only exist in pollinated form for a short period of time,” Olson said. “They may only live to adulthood for a few days, so it’s good to make sure they have something to eat when they appear and are ready to pollinate.”


Topics on pollen matter in canola fields


For more information:
Rachel L. Olsson et al, Interactions between Plant and Pollen Materials in Urban and Rural Agricultural Landscapes, Internet food (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.fooweb.2021.e00194

Quote: Flies masquerading as bees may be pollinators obtained on June 22, 2021 from https: //phys.org/news/2021-06-bee-impersonating-flies-pollinator-potential.html Show sex ( June 22, 2021)

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