Bees for Development
Pollination is the mechanism that allows us to harvest crops and seeds throughout the world. It has been estimated that 35% of the human diet depends on insect pollination. All species of bees are pollinators providing a pollination service for farmers and growers. In most developing countries producers enjoy this service freely from the natural populations of honeybees and other pollinators that are available in the area - which is why habitat protection is so essential. We take this 'service' for granted at our peril. Beekeepers add significantly to this pollinator population and so offer a valuable service to farmers helping to enhance local food security.
Commercial pollination extends this service more formally to large scale growers whose crops require pollination. Some crops are sufficiently valuable and pollination gives sufficient crop increase for the farmer to pay for pollinators. Commercially produced kiwi fruits in New Zealand and almonds in the United States of America are examples of this. These crops generate many millions of dollars for those economies and are both entirely depenedent on honey bee pollination. It is a feature of more intensive, monoculture style agriculture, which while not always being a desirable methodology, nevertheless is a worldwide phenomenon.
Commercial pollination services in developed countries are mostly provided by honeybees through a long-standing and well-organized market. Honeybees are used most often because they form large colonies, persistent from year to year, that are relatively easy to transport. Beekeepers who have agreed to a pollination contract temporarily move their colonies into the crop that needs pollinating and are paid a cash amount for doing this by the crop grower. In many countries, this is required because large areas of monoculture cropping have developed and natural pollinators are frequently insufficient for full pollination of the crop. The introduction of honeybees helps to mitigate deficiencies in this style of agriculture. In some cases, mostly greenhouse pollination where the glass screens the plants from environmental pollinators, other species of bees are used.
Moving bees about subjects them to stress which can affect their disease resistance and long term survival. Recently, large scale losses of honeybees have made people realise that more thought needs to be put into the methods used for commercial pollination.
List of Articles available on this topic (23):
A Guide to Managing Bees for Crop Pollination
Scott-Dupree, C,, Gates, J., Hergert, G., Nelson, J.D., Termer, B. & Winston, M.
A World Without Bees
Benjamin, A. McCallum, B.
Assessing the role of honey bees in a field of Asiatic cotton (Gossypium arboreum L.)
Bees and CropPollenation - Crisis, Crosssroads, Conservation.
Stubbs, C & Drummond, F.
Effect of insect pollination on fruit bearing mandarin and physical and chemical properties of the fruit
Manzoor-ul-Haq; Rafie-ul-Din, M.; Ghaffar, A.
Frequency of insect visitors for pollen foraging on sunflower in relation to daily temperature and humidity
Vaish, O.P.; Agrawal, S.C. & Joshi, M.J.
Globa honey bee disorders and other threats to insect pollinators
Kluser, S.; Neumann, P.; Chauzat, M; Pettis, J.
Global honey bee decline and its effects on agricultural production
Honeybee Pollination of Important Entomophilous Crops
Insect Pollinators of Crops
Insrumental Insemination of Honeybee queens
Integrated Crop and Food Production in Afghanistan: an account of the achievements of the AFG/94/002 programme 1995-1997 and opportunities for 1997-1999
Low-cost homes for wild pollinators
Nectar and Pollen Plants of China
Pollination Management Of Mountain Crops through Beekeeping
Pro-Poor Chain Development for High Value Products in Mountain Regions: Indian Bay Leaf
Choudhary, D; Pandit, B; Kinhal, G; Kollmair, M.
Restoration of Apis cerana japonica on the Goto Islands
Rural Processing and Preserving Techniques for Fruits and Vegetables
Successful pollination of apples
The beekeeping programme in Burma
The Human Pollinators of Fruit Crops in Maoxian County, Sichuan, China
Partap, U. & Tang Ya
What commercial pollination means for the environment
Bees for Development
Wild flowers as competitors for pollinators in almond orchards
Eisikowitch, D.; Lupo, A.