Solutions for Farmers & Food for Bees
News & Events
Pollination of greenhouse crops requires the use of commercial bumblebee hives (Bombus sp.), often carrying diseases, which will be transmitted to wild bees, several species of which are already threatened.
In addition, these commercial bumblebees, often limited in the food diversity available in the greenhouse, can develop behavioral disorders, reducing pollination efficiency.
Tailor-made flower strips for the conservation of endangered bumble bees
Amélie Morin, master’s student, presents her research work… and her passion for bumble bees!
(c) ECCC et A. Morin
As part of her research project, Amélie worked in collaboration with 18 agricultural producers from Montérégie, who created flower arrangements for bumblebees. These arrangements consisted of strips adjacent to crops, sown with several shrubby or herbaceous floral species. In the end, more than 3,600 bumblebees were photographed and then released, allowing the identification of 61 individuals belonging to 2 endangered species.
For the continuation of her research, Amélie will look at the nutritional content of plants. A bit like the nutritional tables found on our foods, plants do not all contain the same nutrients and therefore do not have the same value in supporting the health of bumble bees.
Multidisciplinary science for sustainable development: reconciling agriculture and the preservation of native pollinators in Canada
In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
Promote the health and nutrition of native pollinators
Promote the health and sustainability of agricultural production
Consideration of the economic and social reality of farmers
The establishment of sustainable agriculture requires integrating the interests of all stakeholders. This entails considering the needs and obstacles faced by producers when initiating research projects. We conduct surveys and interviews with farmers in Ontario and Quebec to assess their main interests and limitations in implementing bumblebee-friendly management practices. These surveys will also allow us to integrate their suggestions and recommendations to identify plants and associations of high agro-economic value to include in our experiments on the health and performance of bumblebees.
Nutritional complementarity of cultivated and native plants for bumblebees
Monocultures restrict pollinators to a monotonous, often deficient diet, increasing the risk of disease and reducing pollination and reproductive performance. We seek to identify the best combinations of plants (cultivated or cultivated-indigenous) providing a nutritious pollen resource adapted to bumblebees over an annual cycle, in order to target the combinations to be favored in agricultural environments to fight against malnutrition and decline of colonies.
Image: a sunflower in a cornfield. Sunflowers have interesting nutritional and medicinal values for pollinators. We are now looking to identify other plants with similar properties and adapted to our climate in Canada.
Improving the health of bumblebees in greenhouses to preserve wild pollinators
Commercial bumblebees are used on a large scale for the pollination of greenhouse crops. However, they often have a low resistance to diseases, and may thus pose an additional threat to wild bees, by increasing the transmission of parasites. We want to test to what extent the establishment of sunflower strips, whose pollen possesses medicinal values, operates as a simple and effective solution to reduce the parasitic load of commercial bumblebees in greenhouses before they enter in contact with wild bumblebees and other native bees.
Who are we ?
We are a group of conservation researchers and practitioners in Quebec, Ontario and Massachussets, working closely with producers, agronomists, entrepreneurs and policy makers. We seek to identify solutions for a sustainable agriculture that combine the socio-economic reality of farmers with the ecological and nutritional needs of native pollinators.
Canada: Centre de recherche et d’innovation sur les végétaux, Université Laval
2480 boul. Hochelaga, Québec, Qc, G1V 0A6
France: IPHC-UMR7178, CNRS / Unistra
23 Rue Becquerel, Bâtiment 60 (DEPE)
F-67087, Strasbourg Cedex
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