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Not only bees are important for pollination

Oilseed rape
Bees are usually considered to be the most efficient pollinators for crops, but a new international study shows that other insects are just as important. A variety of different insects are needed for our food supply.

"We already know that honeybees and wild bees are of great importance to our food production. This study shows that other pollinating insects, such as flies, beetles, butterflies and wasps, are more important for the pollination of crops than we previously thought", says Lovisa Nilsson, a doctoral candidate at the Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, and one of the researchers from Lund University who have contributed data.

The study, published in the latest issue of the scientific journal PNAS, is based on 39 different studies conducted on five continents where researchers have measured the degree to which insects pollinate various crops.

“Although non-bees were less effective pollinators than bees per flower visit, they provided slightly more visits; so these two factors compensated for each other resulting in similar pollination services,” says Romina Rows from the University of New England, who has compiled and analyzed the data.

Research indicates, in other words that both bees and other insects are required for our food supply, which further reinforces the image of how important it is to maintain a diversity of organisms.

Facts about the study & Nature research highlight

Romina Rader from the University of New England, Australia, has collected and analysed data from 39 different field studies from five different continents.  Researchers from Lund University and SLU are the main data suppliers from Sweden. 

Link to the article: Non-bee insects are important contributors to global crop pollination

Nature research highlight: Pollination is more than bees

Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, CEC

Sölvegatan 37
223 62 Lund, Sweden

Visiting address
The Ecology building, Sölvegatan 37, Lund