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Author Topic: Would pollination be accomplished by others?  (Read 5224 times)
charles
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« on: July 28, 2009, 12:50:13 PM »

Let's say the worst is true, and US honeybee population drops to almost nil in the next 25 years. Wouldn't the crops that are currently pollinated by honeybees simply be pollinated by other animals: bumblebees, wasps, butterflies, hummingbirds, bats, etc.?
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2009, 12:57:03 PM »

i asked some of my farming friends that very question.  the answer is yes...but....

because of the intensive farming practices, intensive pollination is needed.  yes, you would have berries, but probably not as many.  same with orchards, etc.  crops would be pollinated, but yield would be lower, and in some cases, much lower.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
luvin honey
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« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2009, 08:13:57 PM »

Just for the sake of friendly argument, that's assuming all other factors stay the same. My WI Natural Resources magazine recently featured on article on protecting and creating habit for native pollinators, mason and bumble bees. I wonder how far that would go in upping pollination?
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
fermentedhiker
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« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2009, 11:19:20 PM »

If agriculture was very diversified then yes native pollinators would likely be able to handle it.  The problem comes with large areas of Monoculture.  The almond groves in CA being a perfect example.  There just isn't enough forage the rest of the year to support a population of native pollinators that could handle that many acres blooming at the same time.
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Bee-Bop
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« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2009, 11:40:33 AM »

Ok. I know I'm going to be put on the bad guy list !!

I hear continusly [sp] about all the bees needed for the Almond Crop.

My Question;
Exactly how important are almonds in the human food chain, also any animal food chain use them as a major food ?

Other than food flavering, what else are almonds used for ?
I did have some ice cream once with almonds in it, personaly wasn't impressed.

Oh, think I did see a energy nut bar/mix that had some in it.

Just wondering
Bee-Bop
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lotsobees
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« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2009, 11:49:22 AM »

My $.02... I think because we're a media/sound-bite culture, we're susceptible to hype. I was just reading Langstroth's opening paragraph's in his book from the 1853 and noticed with interest his comments "...the ravages of the bee-moth
have increased, and success is becoming more and more precarious." You would think with the plethora of articles/media the last year that problems with bees are dire and crops hang in the balance. But, alas.... nothing new under the sun.

Now, I'll qualify that by saying I'd agree that we do have some different/new/dangerous things to contend with here in 2009 such as immense swaths of monoculture-monster farms/pesticide dependencies/etc.... Smiley
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doak
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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2009, 11:13:45 PM »

Any single crop is not what counts as much as a large number of crops.
What is in the "food" chain is just one link in the chain.

I will go off topic just to give an example.
Just supposed the gun laws were like some would like it.
Now count all the workers out of work, how much revenue is gone.
Not form the sale of guns, but all the stuff that is sold in relation to how they are used legally.
How much $$$ is spent on things like gas, food clothing, campers etc.

Back on track. Once a crop reaches its point of no return, just like anything else, If you keep on dealing with it the cost of raising it will have to come from some other source.
How many farmers can deal with that?

No, there would not be enough other pollinating insects to take care of every thing.
Plus, Do some research, all pollinating insects do not pollinate every thing, proficiently.
 Take this to the bank.  :)doak

have a nice day
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BjornBee
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« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2009, 07:03:18 AM »

Your average family farm of 50 to 200 acres would have no problem with pollination. In fact most crops, like almost all fruit trees are thinned due to too many fruit being set as it is. Many family farms around here have no problems with native pollination. (Unless they killed them all by chemicals.)

Honey bee pollination has much to do with shape and perfection of the fruit, and with few exceptions, has little to do with number of fruits given. If you ever seen a lopsided apple or lopsided pumpkin, where it is big on one side and smaller on the other, that is poor pollination.

Many family farms around here do not get honey bees for pollination. They have farms with woodland, open Fields, and diverse landscapes around the farms. They have many pollinators.

The dangers with being dismissive of the importance of honey bees however, is IF you have something kill off the honey bees, you may be talking about massive losses to the native pollinators as well. But with every bad thing, something new and better will come forth. Many abuses to the environment can be attributed to the ability of farmers to bring in bees for a few weeks just when needed.

Without the honey bee, a new awareness and perhaps better practices of protecting all pollinators would be seen. If not, some farms will fall by the wayside while others will adjust and move forward. I hate to say it, but by beekeepers providing bees a couple weeks a year, we feed into the ability of farmers to over spray, use much harsher chemicals, and be totally ignorant of the environment the other 50 weeks of the year.

Certainly for the seed crop industry as well as the mega-mono-farms, pollination would be a major problems. In some areas, farms are so large the plantings can be measured in square miles. Pollination, if not for bees being brought in, would be nonexistent. So farming practices, and the ability to feed the world, which is what mega farming does, would need to be changed.

As with many things, extreme comments and poorly painted pictures are fuels by agenda driven, and sometimes just plain ignorance. No, we will not die within three years of the honey bee disappearing. Farming practices would need to be changed, but crops will still be grown. Yield would go down, quality would go down, and farming practices would change. But it would not be the doomsday scenario that some portray.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2009, 06:51:51 PM by BjornBee » Logged

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luvin honey
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« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2009, 12:17:32 AM »

If agriculture was very diversified then yes native pollinators would likely be able to handle it.  The problem comes with large areas of Monoculture.  The almond groves in CA being a perfect example.  There just isn't enough forage the rest of the year to support a population of native pollinators that could handle that many acres blooming at the same time.

Of course, a person doesn't have to farm "fencerow to fencerow" as one of our presidents once famously suggested. Around here, we leave wild habitat on the borders of all fields, strips of land with nothing harvested, just wildflowers and grasses, and even plant some things to be insect food and habitat. Even almond farmers could learn to preserve the wild edges in order to keep native pollinators around the other 50 weeks of the year.
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
ayyon2157
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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2009, 11:17:04 AM »

     I have had an empty hive ever since the bees died with plenty of food stores in late spring.  My neighbor's bees who are regular sized bees as a first choice come over and rob my hives and they cleaned out the empty hive.  I left it undisturbed in the hope that a swarm would select it for a home, but no such luck.

     A fairly large colony of yellow and black striped wasps resembling honey bees only with a longer body has adopted the hive.  They normally live in holes in the ground and lay their eggs in paper comb foundation which looks like a saucer sized sunflower head with the seeds missing.  Some people call them wild bees.

     I plan to leave them alone and observe them.  Is there any potential disadvantages to the beehive 4 feet away?

ayyon2157
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William H. Michaels
Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2009, 11:22:32 AM »

There are certain flowers that are only pollinated by honey bees, just like there are certain flowers that are only pollinated by bumble bees or leaf cutter bees.  Then there are flowers that are pollinated by multiple species.  Certainly the ones that are capable of being pollinated by multiple species would survive.

As Bjorn mentioned, though, there is the issue of things that for practical purposes need someone to bring in more pollinators for short period of time in order to be financially feasible to raise the crop.
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Michael Bush
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luvin honey
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« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2010, 01:23:01 PM »

Dragging back up an old topic Smiley

I thought I would point out that most of the "main crops" Americans depend on--corn, soybeans, wheat and oats--for example, are wind or self pollinated anyway.
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
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