The importance of wild bee communities as urban pollinators and the influence of honeybee hive density
AbstractWhile urban beekeeping is on the rise, data on the role of wild bee communities as crop pollinators in cities is still scarce. We analysed wild bee visitation rates on apple, plum, cherry, pear, blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry in a Bavarian city with a very high honeybee density of c. 19 hives/km2. During 137.5 hours of observation time, we observed 52 wild bee species on the studied crop plants. During more than 50 h of observation time on fruit trees in flower, we found that wild bees provided 41% of the total bee visits, honeybees the remaining 59%. Honeybee hive density had a significantly negative effect on wild bee abundance. Bumblebees appeared more tolerant to poor weather conditions than all other bee groups. Wild bee species richness on apple flowers was not significantly impacted by flower diversity in the surroundings of the trees. Together, our results suggest that species-rich wild bee communities in urban areas are important for pollination success in common fruit crops, especially under unstable spring weather conditions. Bee-friendly management of urban spaces should be prioritised to support wild bee communities as well as the increasing number of honeybees in cities.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Julie Anne Weissmann, Iris Rebecca Magdalena Walldorf, Hanno Schaefer
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