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Landscape effects on wild Bombus terrestris (Hymenoptera: Apidae) queens visiting highbush blueberry fields in south-central Chile

  • Author(s): Vieli, L;
  • Davis, FW;
  • Kendall, BE;
  • Altieri, M
  • et al.

In this study pollinators visiting highbush blueberry fields set in landscapes with differing land use pattern in south-central Chile were investigated. Effects of spatial buffers from 0.5 to 8 km around each blueberry field on the abundance of the main wild pollinator, Bombus terrestris queens, were tested. Wild B. terrestris abundances were positively affected by natural forest area and negatively affected by high-food resource area, and these effects were strongest at a buffer radius of 1 and 3.5 km, respectively. Possibly, continuous food resources provided by natural forest areas favor colony establishment and growth, and/or increase overwintering survival of bumblebee queens. Also, pollinator dependent crop area can generate a “transient dilution effect” by decreasing the density of bumblebees in simultaneously flowering crops. Management strategies might increase crop pollination services by considering the importance of nesting and overwintering habitat quality/amount and area of simultaneously flowering crops requiring insect pollination.

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