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Slide 16 of 18
After 20 years of research, many possible solutions have already been tried.
Methods have been devised that focus on sanitation; they are often labor
The alfalfa seed industry achieved a major boost in yield when growers first
began to manage solitary bees, but improvements in management that are
developed now amount to fine tuning the system.
I believe that the problems that prevent growers from obtaining a sustainable
yield of bees in their own fields: pollen balls, chalkbrood, parasites, etc.,
can’t be solved in isolation. There are no “solutions” to specific
problems in a dynamic, complex system. Rather, there are tradeoffs that can be
optimized for particular goals. In this case the goal is to maximize profit
without compromising future profits. (see my research
On starting this job, I felt that I was unlikely to devise more effective
methods for managing isolated bee problems than had already been devised or
were being researched by colleagues (although I have been keeping my eyes open
for potential promising ideas). Rather, I felt that a new approach to research
on this problem had to center around understanding the interactions between
the bees and their flower resources.