Hemp and Bees
We often overlook the smaller things that play a large role in our lives, like that of hemp and bees. As hard as we work to boost the economy, we easily often forget the variety of other factors that contribute to ongoing sustainability. Crucial work is also done by species other than ourselves. This is especially the case for bees. With populations declining significantly in recent years, the EPA is seeking solutions, and a University in Colorado thinks hemp could be the answer.
Economical Benefits from Our Ecosystem
Even though bees are tiny, their impact is mighty. Bees efforts in crop pollination contribute to the U.S. economy by at least $15 billion. Now, more than ever, it is important that we learn how to work alongside our ecosystem as a team to benefit everyone involved. Working together, we can build mutually beneficial relationships with the pollinators and plants alike.
The Valuable Role of Bees
To understand the impact bees have on our lives a little better, it’s important to look at one of the main sources of everything that happens on this earth, energy. Our bodies rely on the food we eat for the energy we need and to complete our daily tasks. We also rely on bees for about ⅓ of that food. In return, they rely on us to provide an environment in which they can thrive.
How Hemp Helps
Similar to humans, bees also thrive with adequate nutrition and desirable living conditions. We can fulfill those needs by the crops we choose to cultivate with recent findings suggesting that hemp cultivation could provide the best of both worlds.
The type of hemp bees are most attracted to are those which produce pollen. This type of hemp crop is usually cultivated for either oilseed or fiber production. Less sustainable crops currently cultivated for oil and fiber could then be replaced by hemp. In return this could reduce pesticide use, another factor in the bee population decline.
Another benefit to hemp cultivation is its flowering and pollen producing period. This period occurs between July and September. That time period allows hemp to also make up for the lack of pollen production from other farmed crops during those months.
The large amount of pollen produced by the hemp plant proves to be an enticing treat for the bees observed at Colorado State University. University graduate, Victoria Halligan, was one of the scientists that gathered the bee collection vessels from the hemp plot. The vessels were then brought to the CSU lab, where she and the other scientists analyzed the samples to determine the diversity of bees present. The university in Fort Collins collected 2,000 bees, with a total of 23 different genera. The 23 genera of bees collected represent 80% of the entire region’s genera.
These results show how hemp’s pollen production could make it an even more valuable crop than we might have initially realized. Working together with our ecosystem, we can improve life for even the smallest species of plants and pollinators. In return, they will have a much stronger chance of improving our economy as well.
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