Bee Pollination in Agricultural Ecosystems

Bee Pollination in Agricultural Ecosystems

Rosalind James and Theresa L. Pitts-Singer

Print publication date: 2008

ISBN: 9780195316957

Publisher: Oxford University Press


Bees play a vital role as pollinators for many agricultural crops. This book discusses the interplay between bees, agriculture, and the environment. Although honey bees are well recognized as pollinators, managed bumble bees and solitary bees are also critical for the successful pollination of certain crops, while wild bees provide a free service. As bees liberally pass pollen from one plant to the next, they also impact the broader ecosystem, and not always to the benefit of humankind. Bees can enhance the unintentional spread of genes from genetically engineered plants, and may increase the spread of invasive weeds. Conversely, genetically engineered plants can impact pollinators, and invasive weeds can supply new sources of food for these insects. Bees' flower-visiting activities also can be exploited to spread biological control agents that help to control crop pests. Bee pollination is important for production of native plants used for restoration of wild lands. Managing bees for pollination is complex and must consider bee natural history, physiology, pathology, and behavior. Furthermore, transporting bees from native ranges to new areas for pollination services can be controversial, and should be done only after assuring that a non-native bee introduction will not disrupt the ecosystem. Even though bees are small, unobtrusive creatures, they play large roles in the ecosystem. The connection between bees and humankind is symbolic of a broader interconnection between humans and the natural world.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Bee-Provided Delivery Services

1 Bees in Nature and on the Farm

Theresa L. Pitts-Singer, and Rosalind R. James

3 Crop Pollination in Greenhouses

José M. Guerra-Sanz

5 Honey Bees, Bumble Bees, and Biocontrol

Peter G. Kevan, Jean-Pierre Kapongo, Mohammad Al-mazra'awi, and Les Shipp

Part 2 Managing Solitary Bees

6 Life Cycle Ecophysiology of Osmia Mason Bees Used as Crop Pollinators

Jordi Bosch, Fabio Sgolastra, and William P. Kemp

Part 3 Environmental Risks Associated With Bees

13 The Future of Agricultural Pollination

Rosalind R. James, and Theresa L. Pitts-Singer

End Matter