The legalization of hemp in the United States may be the best solution to the disappearance of bee colonies in the country.
Experts at Cornell University conducted a study to show that cannabis is used by many different species, including bees. The results of the study were published in Environmental Entomology. These results only confirm the results obtained through another similar study published last year at Colorado State University.
It turns out that bees actually love cannabis. The legalization of cannabis in the United States is expected to affect the population of bees in a positive way.
Experts confirmed that hemp supports 16 different bee species. Landscape simplification had a negative impact on the abundance of bees hovering over cannabis flowers. However, it didn’t affect the richness of species in the community. Unlike landscape simplification, plant height had a strong impact on the richness of bee species.
Hemp can provide an excellent nutrition resource to a diverse community of bees. This will support the agroecosystem-wide pollination for other crops in the area.
The cultivation of cannabis has increased, so growers, land managers, and policymakers should take into consideration its value in supporting the population of bees.
“Bees provide essential pollination services in both natural and agricultural systems; yet, both wild and managed bees have been adversely impacted by numerous characteristics of large-scale, intensified agriculture, including the widespread use of chemical pesticides and insecticides, persistent pathogens and parasites, and the loss of seminatural nesting habitat and plant diversity (Goulson et al. 2015, Dicks et al. 2016).
Experts have confirmed the link between hemp pollen and the population of bees
Experts have covered many different topics, and hopefully, the findings of the study will increase the number of bee colonies.
“Landscape-scale loss of natural areas and plant diversity, a defining characteristic of intensive agriculture, occurs as a consequence of the increased size and connectivity of areas devoted to agricultural production (Meehan et al. 2011). Habitat loss associated with agricultural land-use change imposes nutritional stress on bee communities (Naug 2009) by reducing the diversity of floral resources and imposing temporal gaps in resource availability (Di Pasquale et al. 2016).
Changing land-use patterns, therefore, threaten the sustainability of the pollination services that our agricultural systems rely upon.”
The legalization of cannabis in the country will increase the cultivation of the plant, thus providing more pollen sources for bees. This is more than encouraging possibility. The population of bees has marked a drastic decline in the past few years. The new discovery brings hopes to beekeepers across the country.
“Hemp flowers late in the summer releasing an abundance of pollen during a period of native and agricultural floral dearth (Dalio 2012, Koh et al. 2016). As a result, hemp pollen may offer a vital subsistence resource to bees at a point in the season when they are resource-limited.”
The study also leads us to many different studies that have confirmed the link between hemp pollen and the population of bees.
Experts confirm that hemp produces a high concentration of pollen, and this is more than beneficial in times of floral resource scarcity. Hemp is an important crop in the northeastern US landscape.
“The potential for hemp to serve as a floral resource for bees is influenced by landscape composition, the height of hemp plants, and temporal factors. Growers, extension agents, and policymakers should consider risks to bees as pest management practices are developed for this crop (Cranshaw et al. 2019).”
Bee colonies have seen a terrible decline in the past decade due to the excessive use of insecticides and other pesticides and herbicides. The reduced number of bee colonies has disturbing consequences for the supply of food in every corner of the world.
These studies open a brand new opportunity, offering a simple solution to the problem. It’s time to stop using pesticides and focus on using hemp pollen to support bee colonies.