Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) has been used in a wide range of industries since time immemorial. Scientists have recently found that cannabis can also be very useful in the ecosystem. It provides a large amount of pollen to bees. The study states that more than 20 different bee genera are attracted to flowering cannabis, proving that “hemp in the agroecosystem supports pollinators.”
Hemp inflorescence attracts many species of bees, blooms in a period when many flowers have already bloomed. Thus, bees need an additional source of food. And this is exactly the time when cannabis comes.
„Hemp flowering in northern Colorado, where this study was conducted, occurs between the end of July and the end of September. This time period coincides with a dearth of pollinator-friendly crop plants in the region, making hemp flowers a potentially valuable source of pollen for foraging bees, ” states the study.
The team counted more than 20 bee species. „A total of 23 different genera of bees were collected of which the European honeybee, Apis mellifera at 38 % of the total abundance was the most dominant followed by Melissodes bimaculata at 25% and Peponapis pruinosa at 16%. These three genera made up nearly 80% of the total abundance. “
Cannabis Sativa in Industry
Hemp is used to make ropes and strong textile fibers. Cannabis provides material for the construction industry (plywood or chipboard production, insulation), and finally, it is also used in the food and cosmetics industry (seeds, oil). Hemp is compostable.
Bees are considered the most important animal in the world. Insect species, including bees, have been dying too quickly over the past decades.
The expansion of cannabis cultivation could combine useful with a useful, environmentally friendly industry. However, there is a threat that the agricultural industry will use pesticides against pests, which would be counterproductive to bee colonies. An integrated pest management plan should therefore be considered.
Source and credit: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0961953419300248, Featured image: ID 186808111 © Ulrike Leone | Dreamstime.com