Helping wild bees is worthwhile
The shrinking population of bees has recently received a lot of publicity. The decreasing number of beehives is certain to have a negative impact on food supply safety. It is therefore justified that the issue should be more and more present in the public debate.
The mention of bees evokes the image of a beekeeper in a characteristic suit and a protective hat, removing honey carefully from beehives in a bee-garden. Those bees are bred on purpose, and they function in a pattern, which ensures that the farms function smoothly. The importance of bees and other insects in the agricultural production cannot be overestimated. By pollinating the plants, insects make it possible for food worth 200 billion USD per year to be produced, or circa 9.5% of food produced globally.
Researching “new” fields
Notwithstanding the importance of domesticated bees, the scientist of Simon Fraser University decided to conduct an experiment concerning the impact of natural ecosystems on agricultural activity. The goal was to check the efficiency of canola plantations pollinated by wild bees. In the experiment, a part of the field was left uncultivated and insects were free to use the wild plants. As a result, the diversified sources of pollen had a very favorable impact on the population of wild bees, as well as on the yields from the neighboring canola plantations. The calculations have shown that the revenue from the plantations on which one third of the farmland is left uncultivated is higher by 240% than the revenue from a farm on which bees may only use pollen from one kind of plant!
Return to nature
A more systemic approach to farming is becoming more and more widespread. Therefore, we ought to look not only at the mechanization processes, but also at increasing biodiversity. Changes in legislation are required, as well as promotion of such initiatives with agricultural manufacturers. The shrinking population of bees has already brought about bleak visions of the bee-less future. As a rule, the possibility of food deficiency proves a strong motivating factor, but we should not wait for the hazard to become a reality and act now.