Attractiveness of flowers of different plant species to bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea)and hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) of central Spain


Abstract: Over the last century, rapid expansion of intensive agricultural practices hascontributed to modify and destroy the natural habitat of many species, including beneficialinsects (i.e. bees and hoverflies). In order to conserve beneficial insects and improve theirhabitats, it is important to find out what plant species are attractive for those insects, and at thesame time suitable to be implemented in habitat management of agro-ecosystems. This researchinvestigates the attractiveness of nine annual plant species and two mixtures of plant species forbeneficial insects under field conditions. The results show that there were differences inbeneficial insects’ preference for different flower species. Bees preferred Borago officinalis,Diplotaxis muralis, Echium plantagineum and Phacelia tanacetifolia, while hoverflies favoredCalendula arvensis, Coriandrum sativum, Diplotaxis muralis and Lobularia maritima.Furthermore, Diplotaxis muralis was the only plant preferred by both groups of beneficialinsects, while Tagetes patula was the least attractive for all beneficial insects included in thestudy.

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