Native bee species in relation to crop pollination


Honey bees are used widely throughout North America and Europe for the commercial pollination of a variety of crops including blueberry and cranberry. At the same time, it is well recognized that various native bee species can play an important role in commercial crop pollination. However, their effectiveness may be seriously compromised in areas where floral diversity is greatly diminished and the application of insecticides and herbicides widespread and frequent. There is a general lack of knowledge regarding native bee species indigenous to the Island of Newfoundland. To the best of our knowledge, bumble bees make up only about 20% of the bee species on the Island. Moreover, there is a significant number of bee species other than bumble bees that are likely to be important pollinators of cranberry, blueberry, and native plants. However, many lay people are unable to identify these bees, and many would not even see them as bees. Therefore, it is premature to conclude that there are not enough native species to pollinate cranberries, when the full spectrum of pollinator species available in cranberry fields has not been documented. Research is needed to generate a comprehensive inventory of pollinator species able to pollinate cranberry and blueberry crops in Newfoundland, and if possible, rank them in terms of importance to fruit set and other crop productivity variables.

Start date 
5 Apr 2017