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Implications for bee management:


Increase floral resources for bees late in the season:

bulletReduce number of bees introduced into fields.
bulletProvide alternative source of pollen and nectar late in season as alfalfa bloom dwindles.
bulletClip field at different times to vary bloom initiation.
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Slide 14 of 17  

Because floral resources affect bee reproduction and mortality of larvae, and because large numbers of bees are introduced into seed fields, one way to improve bee yields may be to increase floral resources late in the season. Planting alternative bloom to increase nectar availability, or to increase both nectar and pollen late in the season, may improve bee yields. Some growers already plant buckwheat to provide alternative leaf sources. This plant also provides additional nectar and pollen. If buckwheat planting is timed so that it blooms after peak alfalfa bloom, the buckwheat won't interfere with alfalfa pollination. Clipping or mowing a strip of alfalfa around the time of bee release to stagger bloom time may also provide flower resources for the bees, as well as providing a trap crop to attract insect pests late in the season. (see "clipping options, slide show 5)