Over one third of the world’s crops rely on pollination, primarily provided by bees, for production. I examined wild and managed pollinator contributions to yield in highbush blueberry in BC’s lower mainland, and how local and landscape factors influence pollinator abundance. Honey bees made up the majority of flower visits, but half the visits to cultivar ‘Bluecrop’ were made by wild bumble bees. Pollination deficits declined with either increasing bumble bee visits or increasing total visits (honey bees and bumble bees combined). Bumble bee abundance increased with surrounding semi-natural land and declined with surrounding ‘bee-friendly’ agriculture. Local effects on bumble bee abundance disappeared in the absence of landscape influences. This work supports a growing body of literature that suggests wild bees are important crop pollinators that must be incorporated into agricultural management strategies in order to maximize potential crop yields.
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Thesis advisor: Elle, Elizabeth
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