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Annu Rev Entomol. 2011;56:293-312. doi: 10.1146/annurev-ento-120709-144802.

The role of resources and risks in regulating wild bee populations.

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Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22904-4123, USA.


Recent declines of bee species have led to great interest in preserving and promoting bee populations for agricultural and wild plant pollination. Many correlational studies have examined the indirect effects of factors such as landscape context and land management practices and found great variation in bee response. We focus here on the evidence for effects of direct factors (i.e., food resources, nesting resources, and incidental risks) regulating bee populations and then interpret varied responses to indirect factors through their species-specific and habitat-specific effects on direct factors. We find strong evidence for food resource availability regulating bee populations, but little clear evidence that other direct factors are commonly limiting. We recommend manipulative experiments to illuminate the effects of these different factors. We contend that much of the variation in impact from indirect factors, such as grazing, can be explained by the relationships between indirect factors and floral resource availability based on environmental circumstances.

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