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When it Comes to Pollination, Honey Bees Aren't the Only Game in Town

Narrator: This is Science Today. To deal with the puzzling disappearance of the European honey bee due to a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder, researchers have been looking to native bees to pitch in. Claire Kremen, a conservation biologist at the University of California, Berkeley says as important as honey bees are to the agricultural industry as pollinators, they aren't the only game in town.

Kremen: We could be looking at other sources of pollination services. So, the action that we need to take is to manage for these wild bees as a back up pollination service. And then what we could achieve is to have pollination for our crops secured by having both wild bees and honey bees.

Narrator: In fact, Kremen's research team found that the presence of wild bees actually stimulates honey bees to work harder.

Kremen: When you added a lot of the native bees into the system, it kind of jazzed things up. And there would be these interactions right on the flower head and the honey bee, instead of being this very methodical forager going from flower to flower in the row, would start to switch more and that's why they became more efficient.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.