Wild Bee Health and Conservation

A special issue of Biology (ISSN 2079-7737). This special issue belongs to the section "Conservation Biology and Biodiversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 5668

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Guest Editor
1. Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
2. Faculty of Natural Sciences I, Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Saale, Germany
Interests: evolutionary biology; host–parasite interaction; social evolution; pollination; behavioural ecology; innate immune system; gene expression
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Dear Colleagues,

Pollination is an essential ecosystem service that ensures food and nutritional security and contributes to biodiversity conservation. Around 75% of all angiosperms are fully or partly dependent on animal-mediated pollination, that is, the cross-transfer of pollen from the male reproductive parts (anthers) to the female reproductive parts (stigma) of a flower. Among animals, both vertebrates and invertebrates act as pollinators, but by far the most important group are invertebrates, with insects and bees at the forefront.

Of the 20,000 species of bees, only 10–12 species are actively managed for pollination. The most important and well-known managed species is the Western honeybee, Apis mellifera. However, beekeeping management practices and extensive breeding for long periods have resulted in honeybees being weakened due to pest and pathogen pressure. These pathogens and pests have the ability to contaminate other wild pollinators during their foraging activities, having drastic and detrimental effects on their new hosts.

Intensified agriculture—including the overuse of agrochemicals and increased environmental degradation—constitutes another threat to bee pollinators. Agrochemical use, particularly in the form of conventional pesticides, endangers the lives of beneficial insects, and habitat degradation minimizes the nesting spaces and foraging ability of wild bees.

Honeybees are not able to provide all required pollination services, as they are not able to pollinate all plant species. Even with extreme densities of honeybees, optimal pollination cannot be reached. Thus, wild bees are essential for a significant amount of crop pollination, and are complimentary to pollination services. Consequently, wild bees are essential for food security and biodiversity conservation, hence resulting in the direct scientific interest in their health to better to support conservation efforts.

In this Special Issue, we hope to accumulate new and timely knowledge about wild bee health, including: descriptions of diseases and pests; spill over effects; risk assessments; and the influence of various agrochemicals and mitigation strategies for reducing exposure, such as bee management strategies, habitat management strategies, and agroecological approaches.

Dr. H. Michael G. Lattorff
Guest Editor

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  • pollination
  • wild bee health
  • bee management strategies
  • biodiversity conservation

Published Papers (1 paper)

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38 pages, 15403 KiB  
Biology, Genetic Diversity, and Conservation of Wild Bees in Tree Fruit Orchards
by Olivia Kline, Ngoc T. Phan, Mitzy F. Porras, Joshua Chavana, Coleman Z. Little, Lilia Stemet, Roshani S. Acharya, David J. Biddinger, Gadi V. P. Reddy, Edwin G. Rajotte and Neelendra K. Joshi
Biology 2023, 12(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12010031 - 24 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 5055
Different species of bees provide essential ecosystem services by pollinating various agricultural crops, including tree fruits. Many fruits and nuts depend on insect pollination, primarily by wild and managed bees. In different geographical regions where orchard crops are grown, fruit growers rely on [...] Read more.
Different species of bees provide essential ecosystem services by pollinating various agricultural crops, including tree fruits. Many fruits and nuts depend on insect pollination, primarily by wild and managed bees. In different geographical regions where orchard crops are grown, fruit growers rely on wild bees in the farmscape and use orchard bees as alternative pollinators. Orchard crops such as apples, pears, plums, apricots, etc., are mass-flowering crops and attract many different bee species during their bloom period. Many bee species found in orchards emerge from overwintering as the fruit trees start flowering in spring, and the active duration of these bees aligns very closely with the blooming time of fruit trees. In addition, most of the bees in orchards are short-range foragers and tend to stay close to the fruit crops. However, the importance of orchard bee communities is not well understood, and many challenges in maintaining their populations remain. This comprehensive review paper summarizes the different types of bees commonly found in tree fruit orchards in the fruit-growing regions of the United States, their bio-ecology, and genetic diversity. Additionally, recommendations for the management of orchard bees, different strategies for protecting them from multiple stressors, and providing suitable on-farm nesting and floral resource habitats for propagation and conservation are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wild Bee Health and Conservation)
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