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"The Bees' needs" : using molecular analysis of bee collected pollen to understand which plants play an important role in honey bee forage

Highet, F and Toteva, G and Downie, M and Peterson, M and Gray, AJ and Reid, A (2018) "The Bees' needs" : using molecular analysis of bee collected pollen to understand which plants play an important role in honey bee forage. In: The Dundee Conference. Association for Crop Protection in Northern Britain, Dundee.

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Summary: Honey bees and other pollinators provide essential pollination services to agriculture and the environment; however they are under increasing pressure from changes in land management, disease and climate change. Current mitigation places emphasis on establishing flower meadows to improve nutritional diversity, but preserving what is already in place is also of importance. ‘CSI Pollen’ was a recent European citizen science project coordinated by COLOSS, investigating the diversity of pollen collected by honey bees in many countries across Europe. Volunteer beekeepers sampled pollen from colonies every three weeks during the foraging season over a two to three year period, creating a huge collection of data and samples. A selection of samples collected from 14 Scottish sites during the second year of study in 2015 were analysed by DNA fingerprinting to identify pollen gathered by honey bees at critical points of the colony’s life cycle; some results and potential implications for land use are discussed here.