Agriculture: Protect Wild Insects to Promote Pollination
BY: Dr.Y.Bala Murali Krishna
New Delhi, Mar
1(2013) Farmers Beware! Protect
and Preserve the wild insects such as bees, flies, butterflies and beetles that promote crop pollination and thus result in
higher farm yields.
Mere bee keeping is
not enough. Integrated pest management is the key to enhance global yields of
animal-pollinated crops and promote long-term agriculture production.
“These practices should include conservation/restoration
of natural or semi-natural areas within croplands, promotion of a variety of
land use, addition of diverse floral and nesting resources, and more prudent
use of insecticides that can kill pollinators,” a new global study says.
over the rapidly declining wild insect species world over due to unscientific
farm practices, the researchers studied data from 600 fields in 20 countries. They
found that farm management with mere honey bees was not enough but successful
farming includes protection of wild insects that promote crop pollination.
of most crops need to receive pollen before making seeds and fruits, a process
that is enhanced by insects that visit flowers.
pollinators, including bees, flies, butterflies and beetles, usually live in
natural or semi-natural habitats, such as the edges of forests, hedgerows or
habitats are lost, primarily owing to conversion to agriculture, the abundance
and diversity of pollinators decline and crops receive fewer visits from wild
The study found that the proportion of flowers producing fruits
was considerably lower in sites with fewer wild insects visiting crop flowers.
Therefore, the reduction of wild insects in
agricultural landscapes will likely impact both our natural heritage and
The study, which prompts an urgent call to maintain and manage
pollinator diversity for long-term agricultural production, is published today
in the journal Science.
The 50 international researchers, including Lawrence Harder(see
Pic), professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in the Faculty of
Science at the University of Calgary(Canada), analysed data from 41 crop
systems around the world including fruits, seeds, nuts, and coffee to examine
the consequences of having abundant wild pollinators for crop pollination.
"Our study demonstrates that production of many fruit and
seed crops that make diets interesting, such as tomatoes, coffee and
watermelon, is limited because their flowers are not adequately pollinated. Adding
more honey bees often does not fix this problem, but that increased service by
wild insects," says Harder.
Paradoxically, most common approaches to increase agricultural
efficiency, such as cultivation of all available land and the use of
pesticides, reduce the abundance and variety of wild insects that could
increase production of these crops.//EOM//