Wild bees have declined in areas of the United States where they are most needed, creating a "mismatch between pollination supply and demand," according to a study being published online in the journal Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Science.
The study released on Tuesday said the wild bee population had declined in 23 percent of the nation from 2008 to 2013, according to a news release
from University of California, Davis
The study suggested that in 139 counties in the United States that have 39 percent of the pollination-dependent crops, there is a mismatch between pollination supply and demand because of the low number of wild bees.
"Indeed it is crops where demand has most increased that we estimate greatest decline in wild pollinator supply," said Neal Williams, an associate professor in the University of California, Davis' Department of Entomology and Nematology.
"The research is also unique in including uncertainty in our knowledge of the quality of habitat for pollinators and thus recognizes where more effort is needed to understand the vulnerability of pollination services."
California's central valley region and parts of Washington state were vulnerable because growers tend to plant crops that lean heavily on pollination, including apples, peaches, pears, blueberries, cherries, watermelons, honeydew melons, almonds and tomatoes, said the Los Angeles Times
"We are a state with a huge dependence on pollination. We have very intensive agriculture, which has challenged our wild bee pollination a lot," said Williams.
Some of the state's almond growers have already tried to add wild bees to their pollination plan and restore native vegetation. Grower Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds will incorporate blue orchard bees this year.
"Where there are wild bees present, even modest numbers of wild bees can make the honey bee a better pollinator of almonds," said Williams. "It changes the behavior of the honey bees. For some reason … the wild bees cause the honey bees to move more between varieties. So they’re essentially transporting better pollen."
The study highlighted 11 other states which have a "mismatch" of crops with the number of wild bees needed to pollinate them, including Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin, said Newsweek
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.