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Slide 2 of 21
To put it another way, are high bee densities really an advantage to the
growers in terms of seed yield?
If so, this implies that there is a tradeoff between seed yields and bee
yields, something that Bill Stephen at OSU proposed in 1981.
Can we better predict how many bees are needed in a field by understanding the
dynamics of flower resources available to the bees?
The alleged advantage of large bee populations is not just an increase in
pollination, it can also mean an increase in the quality of pollination (e.g.,
more cross-pollinated than self-pollinated seed), and a decrease in pest
damage. Pest damage is reduced if pollination reduces floral resources
available to pests, or increases the rate at which susceptible floral stages
mature to unsusceptible stages. These are practical questions with important
implications for the alfalfa seed industry.