Beekeeping Series – Part 6

By: Julio P. Yap, Jr.

Read original article here

IMPORTANCE OF BEES TO CROP POLLINATION AND MANKIND: BEEKEEPING SERIES, PART 6

This article focuses on the role bees play in crop pollination, and the importance of bees to mankind.

Read Part 5 here

Products 

Honeybees provide a wide range of benefits to humans in the form of honey and other bee products, the pollination of food crops, and ecological services. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), an agency of the United Nations, beekeeping is practiced around the world, and can provide a valuable source of income to people in developing regions with relatively little investment.

Honeybees, together with small stingless bees, collect nectar from an Agave bloom.

The best known primary products of beekeeping are honey and wax. However, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, venom, queens, bees, and their larvae are also marketable primary bee products. Most of these products can be consumed, and these have additional uses as ingredients in other products.

Due to its excellent quality, sometimes, an almost mystical reputation is attached to bee products, and its addition to other products usually enhances the perceived value or quality of these secondary products. The FAO said this can increase the profitability of many beekeeping operations.

Pollination

In agro-ecosystems, pollinators, like bees, are essential for orchard, horticultural, and forage production, as well as the production of seed for many root and fiber crops. Pollinators such as bees, birds, and bats affect 35 percent of the world’s crop production, increasing outputs of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide.

 

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Bee on Fruits

Bee pollination not only results in a higher number of fruits, berries, or seeds, it may also give a better quality of produce.

The majority of dietary lipids, calcium, fluoride, iron, carotenoids, lycopene, betacryptoxanthin, and Vitamins A, C, and E consumed worldwide come from crops that require pollinators. These plants include berries, oranges, lemons, potatoes, cashews, broccoli, and cabbage. It goes without saying that these nutrients are vital to human health.

For human nutrition, the benefits of pollination include not just the resulting abundance of fruits, nuts, and seeds, but also the improvement of their variety and quality. Pollinated food is important to human nutritional diversity, vitamin sufficiency, and food quality.

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Bees on a Farm

Bees pollinate a third of what we eat, and play a vital role in sustaining the planet’s ecosystems.

Crops produce optimally with a suite of pollinators which can include, but are not limited to, managed honeybees. A diverse assemblage of pollinators, with different traits and responses to ambient conditions, is one of the best ways of minimizing risks due to climate change.

The “insurance” provided by a diversity of pollinators ensures that there are effective pollinators not just for current conditions, but for future conditions as well.

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Native honeybee on a Kulitis bloom

A native honeybee collects pollen from a Kulitis bloom

Bees pollinate a third of what we eat, and play a vital role in sustaining the planet’s ecosystems. Some 84 percent of the crops grown for human consumption need bees or other insects to pollinate them to increase their yields and quality. Bee pollination not only results in a higher number of fruits, berries, or seeds, it may also result in a better quality of produce.

A team of researchers at the University of California–Santa Barbara recently released a study showing that most of the nutritional diversity in the human diet comes from foods that are pollinated by bats and insects such as bees. So do your share; help protect our bees.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s December 2015 issue.

Agriculture Monthly magazine is the Philippines’ best-selling magazine on all things agriculture. Helmed by veteran agriculture journalist Zac B. Sarian, the magazine is packed with information and inspiration on how to make the most of your farm or garden.

 

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