As the world population of honeybees continues to decline at a dangerous rate, a new study from Colorado State University purports to have found the answer to quell the decline—hemp. The reason hemp is such a boon to the bee population is simple, it is a great source of pollen.
Because the hemp plant provides such a massive amount of pollen, it will provide them with the resources they need to sustain and grow their populations.
As Forbes points out:
- According to researchers, most hemp crops flower between July and September, coinciding with a lack of pollen production from other farm crops.
- Over 2,000 bees (and 23 different types of bee, including the European honeybee) were collected during the study. The 23 bee types represent 80% of all types in the region.
- This discovery points to hemp as a new pollen source for bees and could help sustain their populations.
- Bee colonies have been declining in the U.S. due to stressors such as pests, pesticide exposure and poor nutrition from a lack of pollen, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Researchers noted that although “hemp does not produce any nectar, the pollen-rich nature of the flowers can make hemp an ecologically valuable crop.” However, they also noted that as “cultivation of hemp continues to expand, we expect insect pests on hemp to also become prevalent. Our results documenting bee diversity in flowering hemp provides the impetus for the development of integrated pest management plans that protect pollinators while controlling pests.”
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Contributed by Sean Walton of The Daily Sheeple.