The European honey bee receives most of the credit for crop pollination, but the number of managed honey bee hives is half of what it was in the 1950s; and this number continues to decline primarily because of honey bee pests and diseases. Native bees, however, contribute significantly to crop pollination and, on farms with sufficient natural habitat located nearby, may even provide all of the required pollination for some crops. In order to support the native bee community, it is essential to provide nesting sites in addition to floral resources. Unfortunately, intensively managed farm landscapes often lack the untilled ground, tree snags, plants, and small cavities that native bees require for nest construction. Agroforestry practices can provide essential nesting habitat for bees, our most important crop pollinators.
Agroforestry Note #34, General #8 [Agroforestry Notes, February 2007]