Video: Ecological implications of commercial bumblebees in natural areas

Video explaining the FBBVA funded project

Some fruits and vegetables don't grow naturally in every season but many of them are available almost all year round. So, how is this possible? The growing demand for food, especially off-season fruits, is reshaping our natural landscapes and changing our growing methods. Most fruits and seeds we consume would not be produced without pollination. Colonies of bumblebees are artificially bred, commercially traded, and placed in greenhouses to pollinate plant crops like strawberries and tomatoes. But these insects need a rich diet and sometimes, they can escape from these monoculture crops in search of diverse sources of nectar and pollen from wildflowers. Funded by the BBVA Foundation, a team of scientists from EBD-CSIC, US, UAB and UAL have been studying the presence of commercial bumblebees in natural habitats of Southern Spain. They discovered that these escapes might have an impact on local wildlife that occurs in the surroundings of the greenhouse crops. However, protecting our local biodiversity and offering off-season food products is still compatible. Improving the health of commercial insects along with enhancing the use of wild pollinators are key actions to achieve this environmental balance.

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