Honey bees are so small that it’s easy for their work to go unnoticed. However, these little pollinators are vital when it comes to agriculture and food production. In fact, many researchers estimate that over a third of the food we eat wouldn’t exist without honey bees and other pollinators working behind the scenes. It comes as no surprise that these creatures are so invaluable, but just how do honey bees help farmers? Find out with this overview.
How Honey Bees Help Farmers
As pollinators, honey bees help flowers produce fruits and seeds. Female worker bees fly from plant to plant in search of nectar and pollen to feed their colony. On their way, the tiny hairs all over their body help pick up pollen from one flower and brush it onto another, thus aiding the plant’s reproduction process. As a result, farmers can produce larger, better quality crops. Every year, honey bees contribute an estimated $20 billion value to the agriculture industry in the United States. Crops such as blueberries, cherries, and almonds rely heavily on honey bees—without their work as pollinators, these foods would become much rarer or even disappear altogether.
How Farmers Enlist Honey Bees
Because they’re such valuable workers, many farmers are eager to enlist the help of bees in their fields. Those who don’t have their own honey bee colonies often rent hives for the season. This is a huge source of income for beekeepers of all levels. They ship their colonies to others’ farms, where the honey bees spend a season pollinating the crops there. One major example of bee renting occurs in the almond industry, which relies on bee colonies from across the country to produce their crop every year. Alternatively, many farmers keep their own honey bee hives to pollinate their fields. This works for both major commercial farmers as well as those with a backyard vegetable garden. No matter your crop’s size, honey bees are vital to the process.
If you’ve thought about keeping honey bees for your farm or garden, you can purchase a bee nuc, hive frames, and any other necessary supplies from Kelley Beekeeping. From equipment to information, we’re here to help you with all your beekeeping needs.