Two recently released studies reiterated the importance of wild honey bees in global food production, finding that wild bees pollinate staple food crops more effectively than managed bees. While managed bees transported more pollen, crops pollinated by wild bees were nearly twice as likely to have flowers develop into mature fruits or seeds. Research also suggested that modern agricultural intensification practices, including the use of pesticides, synthetic chemical inputs, large field size and low crop diversity, negatively impact wild honey bee populations.
"As the world population increases to nine billion over the next few decades, we need to find ways to make more food from the same amount of land," said Christina M. Kennedy, senior scientist of The Nature Conservancy. “Any finding that can help farmers achieve this 'sustainable intensification' is another tool in the toolbox of feeding the world."