New research finds that bee pollination is important for improving the market value of strawberries. Bee pollination (as opposed to wind-pollination or self-pollination) leads to greater firmness, a redder color, higher yields and higher weights, according to researchers at Göttingen University in Germany. Their research was published in the Royal Society Journal in November. The study compared the effects of bee pollination, wind-pollination and self-pollination on nine commercially important strawberry varieties in Germany. According to the report, on average, bee pollination increased the commercial value per fruit by 38.6% compared with wind pollination and by 54.3% compared with self-pollination. The bee-pollinated strawberries also had improved weight and shape. Bee-pollinated fruits were, on average, 11.0% heavier than wind-pollinated and 30.3% heavier than self-pollinated fruits. The higher firmness that came with the bee-pollinated strawberries led to 12 hours extra shelf life when compared to wind-pollinated fruit, and more than 26 hours extra shelf life compared to self-pollinated fruit. The researchers said they believe the value of bee-pollination as an ecosystem service may be much higher than current estimates. “Pollination appears to be economically much more important than previously recognized and needs better support through adequate agricultural management and policy,” concluded the researchers.