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Irrigation method does not affect wild bee pollinators of hybrid sunflower

  • Author(s): Sardiñas, H
  • Yee, C
  • Kremen, C
  • et al.

Published Web Location

http://ucanr.edu/repositoryfiles/ca2016a0017-162364.pdf
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Abstract

Irrigation method has the potential to directly or indirectly influence populations of wild bee crop pollinators nesting and foraging in irrigated crop fields. The majority of wild bee species nest in the ground, and their nests may be susceptible to flooding. In addition, their pollination of crops can be influenced by nectar quality and quantity, which are related to water availability. To determine whether different irrigation methods affect crop pollinators, we compared the number of ground-nesting bees nesting and foraging in drip- and furrow-irrigated hybrid sunflower fields in the Sacramento Valley. We found that irrigation method did not impact wild bee nesting rates or foraging bee abundance or bee species richness. These findings suggest that changing from furrow irrigation to drip irrigation to conserve water likely will not alter hybrid sunflower crop pollination.

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