Researchers have used honey samples from the National Honey Monitoring Scheme (honey-monitoring.ac.uk) to quantify how agricultural intensification affects honeybee foraging and health.
The researchers used DNA metabarcoding to identify the pollen present in 527 honey samples which were collected from across Great Britain in 2019. They found that the structure and complexity of honeybee foraging was negatively affected by the area of arable crops surrounding hives, and that honeybee diets were dominated by Brassica crops such as oilseed rape in intensively farmed areas. The researchers also found that the occurrence of Deformed Wing Virus was higher where bees foraged in agricultural land where there was a high use of foliar insecticides.
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Read the paper:
Woodcock, B.A., Oliver, A.E., Newbold, L.K., Soon Gweon, H., Read, D.S., Sayed, U., Savage, J., Bacon, J., Upcott, E., Howell, K., Turvey, K., Roy, D.B., Gloria Pereira, M., Sleep, D., Greenop, A., Pywell, R.F. (2022) Citizen science monitoring reveals links between honeybee health, pesticide exposure and seasonal availability of floral resources. Sci Rep. 12(1):14331. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-18672-0. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9395358/
Banner image: Honey.
Copyright: Marcobeltrametti. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/