Sandra A.M. Lindström, Björn K. Klatt, Henrik G. Smith og Riccardo Bommarco
With a factorial experiment, we examined how irrigation and control of pollen beetles affected crop attractiveness and pollinator visitation in an open-pollinated spring oilseed rape cultivar. We studied how irrigation and pest control modified the production of flowers and nectar in oilseed rape, and if this in turn affected the flower-visitation of honey bees and bumble bees. Pest control increased the number of oilseed rape flowers by 69%, and the amount of nectar per flower with 36%, but for the latter only in non-irrigated plots. Furthermore, we found higher pollinator densities in plots with reduced pollen beetle densities. Pest control also reduced the number of non-legitimate flower visits, suggesting higher pollination efficiency in plots with reduced pollen beetle densities. We show that crop management affects the value of mass-flowering crops as a resource for pollinating insects. Development of pest control tools that are harmless to pollinators could increase the value of flowering crops as food resources for pollinating insects.
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