Declining honey bees and declining diversity

Many agricultural and horticultural crops rely on honey bees for pollination every growing season.  Growers have been changing from a variety of crops to a monoculture of just one crop in their fields.

A recent study published in the journal Biology, suggests that honey bee numbers are declining because their diet does not include a wide variety of plants anymore. In the research study, bees fed a diet of 5 different plants produced more fat than those eating a single variety.  The fat that the bees make is associated with honey production and preserving honey.

A decline in honey bees is not good for the agriculture industry, as many crops such as zucchini, watermelon, cucumbers, pumpkins and many other associated vine crops depend on honey bees for pollination.  If honey bee numbers continue to decline, growers who have a monoculture of one vine crop may start noticing a reduced yield from lack of pollination.  This further pushes the agenda for reducing monocultures and for growers to diversify their crops.

Below is a photo of a watermelon which has been sufficiently pollinated and the fruit is starting to develop.

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