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Pollinator harmony: Wildflowers near watermelon fields attract wild bees

Bees pollinating wildflowersA Clemson University graduate student has found adding a little color to watermelon fields can attract pollinators, which can help improve quality and increase yields of one of South Carolina’s most important vegetable crops.

Miriam “Mimi” Jenkins of Tampa, Florida, has found growing strips of wildflowers near watermelon fields can help attract pollinators, such as native insects and honey bees. Watermelons need pollination to produce melons. A diversity of pollinators is desired to ensure plant success. Jenkins included her findings in the final chapter of her dissertation, Enhancing native pollinators of watermelon agroecosystems in South Carolina, which she wrote as an Extension publication. She graduated from Clemson with a doctorate in wildlife and fisheries biology in May.

“Pollinators are declining at alarming rates due to a combination of habitat loss and a lack of food resources, increased pests, parasites and pesticide use,” Jenkins said. “More than 75% of the world’s leading food crops rely on animal pollination for maximum quality and yield. In addition, many crops produce more fruit or better-quality fruit when a more diverse community of pollinators contribute to pollinating the crop. Wild pollinators also pollinate about two-thirds of wild flowering plants in natural ecosystems. These plants provide food for other wildlife from birds to bears.

A Clemson University graduate student has found adding a little color to watermelon fields can attract pollinators, which can help improve quality and increase yields of one of South Carolina’s most important vegetable crops.

Miriam “Mimi” Jenkins of Tampa, Florida, has found growing strips of wildflowers near watermelon fields can help attract pollinators, such as native insects and honey bees. Watermelons need pollination to produce melons. A diversity of pollinators is desired to ensure plant success. Jenkins included her findings in the final chapter of her dissertation, Enhancing native pollinators of watermelon agroecosystems in South Carolina, which she wrote as an Extension publication. She graduated from Clemson with a doctorate in wildlife and fisheries biology in May.

“Pollinators are declining at alarming rates due to a combination of habitat loss and a lack of food resources, increased pests, parasites and pesticide use,” Jenkins said. “More than 75% of the world’s leading food crops rely on animal pollination for maximum quality and yield. In addition, many crops produce more fruit or better-quality fruit when a more diverse community of pollinators contribute to pollinating the crop. Wild pollinators also pollinate about two-thirds of wild flowering plants in natural ecosystems. These plants provide food for other wildlife from birds to bears.

Source: https://thetandd.com/business/agriculture/pollinator-harmony-wildflowers-near-watermelon-fields-attract-wild-bees/article_7c66b9d7-0554-521e-8c17-de3c2ba29e85.html
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