The Pollinator Impact
Native bees contribute over $9 billion to the economy by pollinating crops, while managed hives contribute over $15 billion. Yet from 1947 to 1990 the number of honey bee colonies in the United States has been halved.
This swift decline has resulted in a hike in hive rental prices for farmers, tripling in price from 2003 to 2009.
Limited Nutritional Diet
The decline of bee colonies can be attributed to several factors including an insufficient amount of forage to maintain bee diets. Some companies and NGOs have released pollinator mixes for small gardens, but what if there was a much more effective solution right in front of our eyes?
Mites are a common cause of bee colony decline. Tracheal mites are deadly and gruesome. They live and reproduce in the trachea of bees, cutting off the bees’ supply of oxygen. Varroa mites cause colony death as well, by preying on young bees or larva, often causing deformities as young bees emerge from their cells.
Promoting research and education about the benefits of regionally adapted plant varieties such as milkweed and clovers will help end the population decline of pollinators. By using regionally adapted varieties of plants, we can take advantage of pasturelands and highway corridors to promote pollinator habitats.
Just imagine what 400 million acres would do for native and managed bee colonies and butterfly migration. GO Seed’s cover crops such as FIXatioN balansa clover, buckwheat, phacelia, and Frosty berseem clover can all be used for honey production. Cover crops and forage offer bees a food source and habitat, while farmers receive all of the additional monetary and environmental benefits. Sounds like a win-win.