Over the past decade, scientists have been grappling with the worrying decline of bee populations. Sunflower plants could provide a solution, according to a study.
The pollen in the bright yellow flowering plants is thought to prevent bumble bees from being infected by a pathogen known as crithidia bombi, and protect the European honeybee from nosema ceranae, both of which are believed to play a role in tumbling bee numbers.
The study was published in the Nature-affiliated journal Scientific Reports as experts try to save bees and their crucial role in pollination, in turn protecting plant biodiversity and food crops around the world.
What a bee eats can aid its immune system, and bees largely get their fats and protein from pollen, with each flower providing different amounts. Sunflowers could therefore be a relatively easy and natural way to boost bees’ health, the authors believe.
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