Global Bee Population May Be Saved by Cannabis
According to the latest research, there may be a solution to the alarming decline of the global bee population — cannabis crops. Researchers from New York have discovered vast numbers (up to 16 distinct species) of these tiny creatures prospering among the newly-planted cannabis crops.
The main reason why cannabis crops are so beneficial for the global bee population is that cannabis crops do not require chemicals, as opposed to other types of plants affected by pests. In fact, experts blame the decline of the global bee population on modern farming practices, especially the frequent use of potent pesticides.
A paper published by Oxford University Press stated that Cannabis sativa, or industrial hemp, is expanding at a rapid pace in the agricultural landscape of the US. The report continues by stating that cannabis crops are primarily pollinated by the wind as hemp produces a significant amount of pollen due to a lack of nectar. Most importantly, these sources of pollen attract different species of bees — and loads of them.
Finally, the report claims that due to the momentary flowering phenology, hemp can provide a vital source of nutrition for different species of bees during the period of “floral deficiency.” Hence, this may be of great help in sustaining the pollination services for different crops all across the agroecosystem.
With the increase in hemp cultivation nationwide, land managers, policymakers, and growers have to take into account the crop’s role in supporting the endangered global bee population.
Furthermore, the bees’ attractiveness to these particular crops should also be taken into consideration during the development stage of pest management strategies.