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collecting pollen from bumble bees

A researcher in a white full-body beekeeping suit kneels by a low bumble-bee hive in a grassy area near a blueberry field, holding a sampling tube. In front of the researcher on top of the hive is a clipboard with a sheet of paper and a green tray with several small vials in rows.

A study of managed bumble bees and honey bees on a blueberry farm finds that most of the pollen they collect comes from other plants, suggesting that supplementing crops with a diversity of nearby plant types makes for healthier bees. The team collected pollen from bee colonies, as shown here, at 14 blueberry farms in Michigan. At each field, they used a 10-frame pollen trap immediately before the start of blueberry blooming (in early or mid-May) and collected samples through the end of the bloom (early to mid-June). (Photo by Kelsey Graham, Ph.D.)

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