Partnership with Bees
Pollination is vital for the flowering plants that depends on the transfer of pollen from flower anther to stigma to reproduce. The anther is the top most part of the stamen, the flower’s male reproductive portion which produces and releases the pollen. The stigma, the top of flower’s female reproductive part, is covered in a sticky substance that catches and traps the pollen grains.
Depending on the specs of plants, the transfer of pollen from anther to stigma is achieved by various agents like wind, gravity, water, birds, bats or insects like beetles, butterflies and bees. The honey bees are the most Important pollinator as they pollinate 80% of our flowering plants/crops. World wide there are more than 20,000 bee species which occupy an Important ecological role a pollinators and are most dominant taxonomic group amongst the pollinators.
Bees provide a range of ecosystem services that contribute to the well being of people whilst maintaining the plant’s life support system. Ecosystem services inherently contribute to achieving global sustainable development. Bee pollination has been identified as directly contributing to food security and biodiversity.
The contribution of wild and managed bees in pollinating wild plants in natural ecosystem and managed forests is well known. The biodiversity found within the forest provides critical range of ecosystem services including water cycle regulation and carbon sequestration. Bee pollinated planted plants provide a source of food for wild life and non-wood forest products for people. Bee keeping within forest boundaries can support forest conservation along side rural livelihoods.
Keeping bees provides opportunities for income diversity with low start-up costs, through diverse products and services including honey pollen, beeswax, propolis, royal jelly and pollination services.. Bee keeping, through pollination services help in increasing farm productivity.
The global decline of bee population poses serious threat to a wide variety of plants critical to human well-being and livelihood. The major reason for decline of bee population are:
- Habitat loss due to intensive farming and land use change
- Climate change
- Extensive use of pesticides
- Pests and Diseases
- Invasive species of bees
Organic farming initiatives with crop rotation and planting flowers for commercial use are some of the initiatives which can help in maintaining bee population.