A recent study showed that bees flock cannabis plantations due to abundant plant pollen reserves, which could help scientists better both bee and flower populations.
The study, led by researchers at Cornell University and published last week in Enviromental Entomology , found that bees are strongly attracted to hemp crops. Their findings coincide with a Colorado study published earlier this year that discovered the same.
This is what the last study found. The larger the area covered by hemp, the greater the number of bees attracted by the area. In addition, taller hemp plants increased the chances of bees visiting the plots, and taller plants brought 17 times more bees than shorter plants. And as the study time passed, more bees visited more and more hemp plots, indicating that the bees were letting their hives know where the good grass was.
Now, the strange thing is that cannabis does not produce nectar, the sweet and sugary liquid secreted by many floral varieties to attract insects. Nor do most hemp flowers come in a wide range of bright colors, which also attracts insects. The researchers found that 16 subspecies of bees flocked to hemp crops, and this was probably due to pollen produced by male flowers. What exactly made hemp pollen so tempting? Bees also seem not to be interested in female flowers – the ones that humans most desire – since female flowers do not produce pollen.
“The rapid expansion of hemp production in the United States … could have significant implications for the pollination dynamics of the entire agroecosystem,” the study authors concluded. “Hemp, which blooms at the end of the season during a period of seasonal floral scarcity, may have a particularly strong potential to improve pollinator populations and subsequent crop pollination services in the following year, filling the gaps in the shortage of resources at the end of the season ».
Bees are one of the most important – if not the most important – pollinators managed in agriculture, extending the male sex cells of a flower to the corresponding female flowers, facilitating the reproduction of plants. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimated that, worldwide, pollinators are worth between 235,000 and 577,000 million dollars for their role in world crop production, and that bees are responsible for 20,000 million dollars of that estimate only in the United States.
For example, the entire almond industry depends entirely on bees for pollination, but other crops such as blueberries and watermelons also rely heavily on bees. If you have noticed the increase in fruit prices at your local supermarket during the winter months, that is partly because bee populations declined during the latter part of the year, with some dramatic falls in recent years due to the use of pesticides and mite infestations of controlled hives.
And if you’re wondering if this means that one day we can see grass honey made by bees, well, that’s already something real. A guy in France named Nicolas Trainerbees (fictitious name) says he discovered a way to get bees to collect resin from female marijuana flowers. As he explained to me a couple of years ago, bees take the resin to their hives to make propolis, a waxy substance that is used to make walls and seal the chambers inside the hive. Hives produce and trap heat, and over the weeks, it is enough to decarboxylate the weed resin in propolis, which he calls “cannapropolis.”
Once Nicolás can enter the hive and remove the honey loaded with propolis – voila, he has honey with THC. No distillates or butane oils are needed.
Anyway, for a new era of agriculture in which grass, bees and people come together to make something magical happen. With all the hype about recreational legalization, it’s easy to forget that cannabis also has a ton of other incredibly important uses.
The Mazatlan Post
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