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Study Finds Bees in Agricultural Areas Do Better with Access to Prairie

Researchers at the University of Illinois have been studying how well honey bees do in agricultural areas. They found that although bee colonies thrive on the soybean flowers and corn pollen early in the summer, the lack of flowering plants later in the summer causes populations to crash. Later in the summer, bees forage primarily on clover near field edges. The researchers found that when bees were moved to restored prairie with more blooming plants, colonies rebounded to healthy levels. The scientists say there’s not enough prairie available to “rescue” all the bee colonies from agricultural land, so they recommend installing strips of prairie within or alongside agricultural fields to support healthy bee populations.