Honey Bees : An Important Role For Plant Pollination Services For Food Production

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Introduction The non-native honey bee, Apis mellifera L., plays an important role in plant pollination services, pollinating 90% of commercially insect-pollinated crops (Steffan-Dewenter et al., 2005). Additionally, they produce honey, which is an important international commodity. Understanding the ecology of honey bees is imperative as humans are becoming increasingly reliant on pollination services for food production. With the upsurge of backyard beekeeping (Salkin, 2012) it is imperative to understand and protect this species. However, according to(vanEngelsdorp and Meixner, 2010), honey bee populations are declining in the United States due to several factors, including such stressors as parasites, pesticides, and fungal and bacterial infections. The cumulative impact of these issues can lead to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), where honey bees leave the hive and never return, though the exact cause(s) of CCD is currently unknown. Honey bees require specific resources within a certain distance to their hive, and it is helpful for beekeepers and land managers to recognize this relationship in order to maintain healthy and efficient hives. A healthy beehive is more adaptable to a changing climate and can better withstand environmental pressures, and healthy bees promote the reproduction of crops and other plants that humans deeply rely on. Therefore, it is imperative for beekeepers to maintain healthy hives and to understand the best practices for honeybees. The

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