Planting more hemp could help maintain bee populations, study finds
Bees are big fans of hemp, and a recent study found that the taller the hemp plants, the more bees that flock to them. The new search, conducted by researchers at Cornell University and published last month in the journal Environmental Entomology, shows that humans are not the only fans of hemp. The results also reinforce a published study last year at Colorado State University who discovered the same thing.
The study shows that bees are very drawn to cannabis because of the plant's abundant pollen stores, and it could pave the way for scientists to find new ways to support their struggling populations as well as flower populations.
According to the study, the larger the area covered by the hemp plant, the more likely the bees will swarm in the area. Additionally, taller hemp plants have a much greater likelihood of attracting bees, with taller plants attracting 17 times more bees than shorter plants.
The study also found that over time more and more bees visited the hemp plots more frequently. As in humans, it almost looks like word of mouth, bees give each other tips.
The researchers also found that the multi-application cash crop of hemp can support as many as 16 different varieties of bees as in the northeastern United States.
The results may seem strange given that cannabis does not produce the sweet nectar that other typical flower varieties produce to attract insects. The hemp flower also does not have the vibrant colors that attract insects. However, the pollen produced by male flowers is very attractive to the 16 bee subspecies in the study for reasons that are still unknown.
Female flowers, the kind that humans love to smoke for its intoxicating and calming effects, are basically ignored by bees because these plants do not secrete nectar, considered non-honey and non-pollinating.
The author of the study wrote:
« The rapid expansion of hemp production in the United States… may have important implications for ecosystem-wide pollination dynamics.
As a late-season crop that blooms during a period of seasonal floral scarcity, hemp may have particularly strong potential to improve pollinator populations and subsequent pollination services for crops the following year by filling gaps in the scarcity of resources at the end of the season. «
What makes the results so compelling is the crucial impact it could have on suffering bee populations across the United States.
A healthy beekeeping industry is invaluable for a healthy agricultural economy
The bee is perhaps one of the most important pollinators in agriculture. Spread the male sex cells from the flowers to their female counterparts in a natural process which is very crucial for plant reproduction.
Many cultures would not exist without the bee at the time of flowering. Crop yield and quality would be significantly reduced without bee pollination.
Every year, American farmers and producers continue to feed more people using less land. They produce an abundance of nutritious and safe food. Honey bees are an integral part of this modern agricultural success. It is estimated that there are approximately 2,7 million bee colonies in the United States today, two-thirds of which roam the country each year to pollinate crops and produce honey and beeswax. The California almond industry requires approximately 1,8 million honey bee colonies in order to adequately pollinate nearly one million hectares of carrier almond orchards.
When bees collect pollen and nectar for their survival, they pollinate crops such as apples, cranberries, melons, and broccoli. Some crops, especially cherries, depend 90% on bee pollination.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, pollinators are worth between 235 and 577 billion dollars in the world because of their pivotal role in the production of world crops. In the United States alone, that means bees are responsible for $ 20 billion in national agricultural production. Without bees, we can say goodbye to almonds, blueberries, melons, watermelons and other crops.
The authors of the study made it clear that the combination of bees and hemp doesn't mean people have to worry about cannabinoid-rich pollen creeping into their diets and bees not starting to produce. of honey enriched with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as pleasant as it may seem.
Likewise, the presence of cannabinoids like THC in hemp pollen "is unlikely to impact bee development due to loss of cannabinoid receptors in insects. «
So while we often like to focus on the recreational or medicinal use of cannabis sativa L, in its edible, smokable and vaping forms, this new research shows that the plant can actually help nature and agriculture in incredible ways. important.