A bumblebee forages for nectar
Bees, nanomaterials, and methane on Mars
19 June 2012
This week in the Planet Earth Podcast: how knowing exactly which bees pollinate which crops may help us grow food more sustainably; and a look at the effects of tiny particles called nanomaterials on the environment and our health.
Wild bumblebees play a much more important role in crop pollination than they did 30 to 40 years ago. So much so, that where honeybees pollinated the majority of UK crops back in the 70s and 80s, today they pollinate just 10 to 15 per cent.
This means that bumblebees and other pollinators like wild bees, hoverflies and moths must be taking up the slack. Indeed it turns out that the real heroes of crop pollination are our 267 species of wild bees.
But which pollinators favour which crops? Sue Nelson goes to the University of Reading to meet bee experts Simon Potts and Duncan Costan to find out.
Later, Richard Hollingham talks to Teresa Fernandes and Helena Johnston from Heriot-Watt University to learn about both the positive and negative effects of nanoparticles on our health and the environment.
Click the play button above to listen now.
A full text transcript is available.
Finally, Sue updates us on a couple of the latest stories on Planet Earth Online.
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