Bees are major fans of hemp and a recent study has found that the taller the hemp plants are the larger the number of bees that will flock to it. The new search, led by researchers at Cornell University and published last month in the journal Environmental Entomology, shows that humen are not the only fans of hemp. The results also reinforce a published study last year at Colorado State University who discovered the same thing.
The study shows that bees are very attracted to cannabis because of the plant’s abundant pollen stores, and it could pave the way for scientists to find new ways to support their troubled populations as well as floral populations.
According to the study, the greater the area covered by the hemp plant the greater the chance that bees will swarm to the area. Additionally, those hemp plants that are taller have a much greater likelihood of attracting bees with the tallest plants attracting a stunning 17 times more bees than the shortest plants.
The study also found that as time went on greater amounts of bees visited the hemp plots on a more frequent basis. It sounds almost like the word-of-mouth effect among humans who hear about great deals at a dispensary, no?
The researchers also discovered that hemp, a major cash crop with multiple applications, can support no less than 16 different varieties of bees in the northeastern United States.
The findings may seem strange considering that cannabis don’t produce the sweet, sugary nectar that your typical floral varieties produce to attract insects. Nor does hemp flower come in the dazzling array of bright colors that likewise attract bugs. However, the pollen produced by male flowers is highly attractive to the 16 bee subspecies in the study for reasons that remain unknown.
Female flowers—the kind that humans like to smoke for its intoxicating and soothing effects—are basically ignored by bees since they don’t produce any actual flowers.
The study’s author wrote:
“The rapid expansion of hemp production in the United States… may have significant implications for agro ecosystem-wide pollination dynamics.
As a late-season crop flowering during a period of seasonal floral dearth, hemp may have a particularly strong potential to enhance pollinator populations and subsequent pollination services for crops in the following year by filling gaps in late-season resource scarcity.”
The beauty of these findings is that this could have an incredible impact on the bee population throughout the United States. As bees were added to the endangered species list not too long ago and they are absolutely crucial to the survival of the planet. Don’t underestimate a bee!
Bees are in fact, one of the most important pollinators in the United States — especially when it comes to U.S. agriculture.
Spreading the male sex cells of flowers to their female counterpart in a natural process that is highly crucial to plant reproduction.
According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, pollinators are worth anywhere from $235 and $577 billion worldwide owing to their pivotal role in the production of global crops. In the U.S. alone this means that bees are responsible for $20 billion of domestic crop production. Without bees we simply wouldn’t have almonds, blueberries, watermelon, and a slew of other awesome and tasty crops.
Researches were quick to state that just because bees are big fans of hemp plans, humen don’t need to worry about cannabinoid-rich pollen getting into their food supply. That goes the same for THC — as awesome as that may sound too many! This is not likely to have an impact on bee development due to the loss of cannabinoid receptors in insects.
So, although we often like to focus on the recreational or medicinal use of cannabis sativa L, in its edible, smokable and vapable forms, this new research shows that the plant can actually help nature and agriculture in incredible ways important.