I am on my way on to Leipzig to attend the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland (GfÖ). My talk entitled “Providing flowering resources to mitigate pesticide effects on plant-pollinator interaction” is scheduled for Friday, 16 September. I look forward to a lively exchange with colleagues.
View the entire programme here
Bees are exposed to various stressors, including pesticides and lack of flowering resources, but the role of co-flowering plants to mitigate pesticides effects are not understood. In my talk, I will first present full-factorial semi-field experiments with flight cages to assess the single and combined impacts of the globally used azoxystrobin-based fungicide and three types of flowering resources (phacelia, buckwheat, and a floral mix) on Bombus terrestris colonies followed by a field experiment on the effect of glyphosate-based herbicide on Bombus terrestris. I will show that flower mixtures can mitigate negative impacts on several endpoints of bumblebee colonies. I will then discuss what this means for agricultural landscapes. To do so, I will present community changes in pollinator networks of farms managing different flowering resources and habitats in their orchards across an intensive apple-growing region in Germany. Although long-term perennial habitats providing flowering and nesting materials are needed across ecosystems, short-term provisioning of flowering resources is a realistic and to certain extend valuable conservation strategy for farmers. I conclude that (1) co-flowering crop plants should be integrated in pesticide risk assessments and (2) providing flowering habitats or at least flowering resources in agricultural landscapes need to become a best-practice management.