Bees hotel in alfalfa field in Ravenna, Italy
Megachile rotundata transporting alfalfa leaf
Alfalfa pollination with bees
Gruppo Carli is carrying out an experiment of pollination of alfalfa fields with a specific pollinator, the solitary apoid Megachile rotundata, also known as Leafcut Bee.
300,000 individuals have been released in our flowering alfalfa fields where they will find nourishment and artificial nests to lay their eggs and raise next generations.
Alfalfa flowers don't have so much appeal to common honey bees due to their characteristic "snap" mechanism: the flower opens to allow cross-pollination and once it's touched by the bee it closes and "slapps" it or even imprisons it.
The Megachile rotundata bee naturally recognizes this mechanism and has learned to avoid it, working sideways and at speed.
Another peculiarity of this bee is that it uses alfalfa leaves to build cocoons, cutting them and carefully shaping the home of future larvae.
We could say that between the Megachile rotundata and the Medicago sativa there is a natural exchange that turns into one of the most important ecosystem service provided by nature.
At Gruppo Carli we strongly believe that agriculture is the result of the complex interaction between multiple factors and only understanding the relationship between environment, land and farm makes possible its sustainable management.