Farmers should plant bee friendly flowers
Farmers around the world should plant bee friendly flowers.
The declining population of honey bees could benefit from bee-friendly flower patches. Honey bees have been declining rapidly, and by ignoring the problem it could end up hurting the world food supply. Bees would benefit from small patches of daisies, borage and lavender planted by farmers.
Honey bees, whose numbers are falling, must be given flowery "recovery zones" in Europe's farmlands to aid their survival, a leading EU lawmaker said Wednesday.
Bees pollinate numerous crops and scientists have expressed alarm over their mysterious and rapid decline.
"If we continue to neglect the global bee population, then this will have a dramatic effect on our already strained world food supplies," said Neil Parish, who chairs the European Parliament's agriculture committee.
Parish, a British conservative, said vast swathes of single crops such as wheat often made it difficult for bees to find enough nectar.
But he said farmers could help bees by planting patches of bee-friendly flowers -- including daisies, borage and lavender.
"We're talking about less than one percent of the land for bee-friendly crops -- in corners where farmers can't get to with their machinery, round trees and under hedges."
People underestimate how useful honey bees are to agriculture.
Crops such as apples, pears and berries are entirely dependent on pollinators for fruit production, while in crops like oilseed rape, sunflowers, peppers and tomatoes, visits by pollinating insects like bees improve the quality and quantity of fruit and seeds produced
Almonds, apples, avocados, blueberries, cantaloupes, cherries, cranberries, cucumbers, sunflowers, watermelon and many other crops all rely on honey bees for pollination.
A 2000 Cornell University study concluded that the direct value of honey bee pollination to U.S. agriculture is more than $14.6 billion.
Certain crops yield up to 25-40% more if efficiently pollinated and farmers in some areas of the world pay beekeepers to put hives into their fields and orchards.
"A failure to act now could have catastrophic consequences."