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Article

Landscape Enhancements in Apple Orchards: Higher Bumble Bee Queen Species Richness, but No Effect on Apple Quality

1
Département de Phytologie, Centre de Recherche et D’innovation sur les Végétaux, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
2
Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 1B1, Canada
3
Centre SÈVE, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC J1K 2R1, Canada
4
Département de Biologie, Centre d’Étude de la Forêt, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC J1K 2R1, Canada
5
Département des Sciences du Bois et de la Forêt, Centre D’Étude de la Forêt, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Enrico De Lillo
Insects 2021, 12(5), 421; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12050421
Received: 30 March 2021 / Revised: 29 April 2021 / Accepted: 4 May 2021 / Published: 8 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IPM and Pesticide Alternatives for Orchards)
Pollinators are essential to produce fruits in apple production. Bumble bees are among the most effective pollinators in orchards during the blooming season, yet they are often threatened by the high levels of pesticide use in apple production. Hedgerows and flower strips are infrequently sprayed by pesticides and are thus potentially good shelter for bumble bees. This study evaluated the influence of landscaping in the form of hedgerows and flower strips on the abundance and number of bumble bee species found in apple orchards. The number of bumble bee species found in orchards with hedgerows or flower strips was higher than in orchards without such landscape enhancements. Similarly, three species were more abundant in orchards with landscaping than orchards without those enhancements. Our work provides additional evidence that landscaping in the form of hedgerows and/or flower strips improves bumble bee presence in apple orchards and should therefore be considered as a means to enhance and ensure pollination within farms.
Bumble bees are among the most effective pollinators in orchards during the blooming period, yet they are often threatened by the high levels of pesticide use in apple production. This study aimed to evaluate the influence of landscape enhancements (e.g., hedgerows, flower strips) on bumble bee queens in apple orchards. Bumble bee queens from 12 orchards in southern Québec (Canada) were marked, released, and recaptured in the springs and falls of 2017 to 2019. Half of the 12 orchards had landscape enhancements. Apples were harvested in 2018 and 2019 to compare their quality (weight, diameter, sugar level, and seed number) in sites with and without landscape enhancements. Species richness, as well as the occurrence of three species out of eight, was higher in orchards with landscape enhancements than in orchards without such structures. The occurrence of Bombus ternarius was lower in orchards with high levels of pesticide use. Apples had fewer seeds when collected in orchards with landscape enhancements and were heavier in orchards that used more pesticides. Our work provides additional evidence that landscape enhancements improve bumble bee presence in apple orchards and should therefore be considered as a means to enhance pollination within farms. View Full-Text
Keywords: Bombus; Apidae; bloom; hierarchical model; community composition; occupancy; pesticide; capture–mark–recapture (CMR) Bombus; Apidae; bloom; hierarchical model; community composition; occupancy; pesticide; capture–mark–recapture (CMR)
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gervais, A.; Bélisle, M.; Mazerolle, M.J.; Fournier, V. Landscape Enhancements in Apple Orchards: Higher Bumble Bee Queen Species Richness, but No Effect on Apple Quality. Insects 2021, 12, 421. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12050421

AMA Style

Gervais A, Bélisle M, Mazerolle MJ, Fournier V. Landscape Enhancements in Apple Orchards: Higher Bumble Bee Queen Species Richness, but No Effect on Apple Quality. Insects. 2021; 12(5):421. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12050421

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gervais, Amélie, Marc Bélisle, Marc J. Mazerolle, and Valérie Fournier. 2021. "Landscape Enhancements in Apple Orchards: Higher Bumble Bee Queen Species Richness, but No Effect on Apple Quality" Insects 12, no. 5: 421. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12050421

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