Suitability pollinators } of hedgerow planting systems in managing bee (hymenoptera: in farm landscapes bordering southern slopes of Mt. Kenya forest apoidae)

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Guantai, Mary Mwari
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Bees al-e the most important pollinators of ~Igricultural crops. Accounting for over gSt:;-'r of the insect pollinators and therefore there is need to protect them. nlorumutely. many larrnerx are nOL aware of rhe importance or bees in crop production and as such they do not associate pollination with yields. Consequently, they carry out some practices which lead to decline in bee populations. For example, the indiscriminate use of pesticides and unplanned clearance of land for crops increases rates of land fragmentation, reducing bee habitats. ln such systems, hedgerows can provide safe habitats for bees as well as foraging resources during the periods when crops arc not flowering. ln addition, strip cropping, within the cropped areas, can provide a major habitat for bees especially when the crop is not blooming, Therefore this study aims at; characterizing hedgerow plants to identify best combinations that can support bee life, determining the floral calendar of hedgerow plants, identifying land use and management practices that impact on bee presence in farmlands, comparing diversity and abundance of bees visiting hedgerow plants and crops and determining suitability or hedgerows as nesting sites for some important wild bees. The study will include field research and also laboratory analysis will be done at the National Agriculture Research Labs-KART for specimens carried from the field, The field study will be carried out at Farmlands bordering southern slopes of ML Kenya along a gradient from the forest towards the dry parts of the region, Four sectors will be used: Kenya Horticultural Exporters (K.H.E), Gakeo. Nyarigino, and Karheri. arranged from the farmland towards the forest, respectively. In each sector, five sites will be selected which will be at distance of not less than 200 metres apart. In each site a ISOm hedge will be chosen from where a short transect 01'25 m towards the cropped land will be created for data collection. Data will be analyzed using Genstat Statistical software. Means will be separated using Student Newmans Kellis (S.N.K), The study is expected' to enhance knowledge to farmers about bees and bee protection, which will result to increased bee population in the farmland, providing sufficient pollination, which ".vil! translate to better yields hence better living standards of farmers