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Honey bees (Apis mellifera) have been the heavy hitters since 1957, when NCRPIS began its controlled-pollination program.
But even before CCD emerged as a problem, NCRPIS staff always looked for opportunities to diversify the pollinators they used.
Under the direction of NCRPIS research leader Candice Gardner, McClurg has worked with Hanlin since 2004 to integrate another pollinator into the mix.
At NCRPIS, two species of mason bees--the hornfaced bee (Osmia cornifrons) and the blue orchard bee (Osmia lignaria)--stay busy even when some other pollinators find fluctuating springtime temperatures too cool.
Though bumble bees (Bombus inpatiens) are adept at pollinating many plants, at NCRPIS they are usually paired with plants that are just plain difficult--for example, ornamentals with trumpet-shaped flowers.
Two kinds of flies--blue bottle flies (Callophora sp.) and house flies (Musca domestica)--have been put to work at NCRPIS.
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