According to Science News, many stressed (stressed out?) bee species are flocking to industrial hemp plants for pollen to feed their larval young. What’s more exciting about these new findings is that hemp plants flower later than other plants, allowing for bees to have a late-season food source.
Cannabis May Save the Bees
These findings were discovered by entomology student Colton O’Brien of Colorado State University in Fort Collins when he conducted a one-month trapping survey. O’Brien went on to find that bees in 23 out of the 66 genera known to live in Colorado tumbled into his traps.
Bees and other pollinating insects are essential to our ecosystems. However, the health of honeybees has faltered the past several decades and this could have devastating consequences on our food productions. A third of all our food depends on their pollination.
Additionally, hemp is unique in that it requires significantly fewer resources to flourish, and for bees, this is great news because it promotes less habitat destruction with little to no pesticide use. These combined make an ideal environment for bees and other insects to live happy and healthy. Because of its large carbon makeup, hemp contains all the necessary vital nutrients bees require as the plant is able to detoxify the soil as it grows.
Hemp farming is on the rise since the 2014 Farm Bill allowed states to develop industrial hemp pilot programs. Industrial hemp is not marijuana, though both originate from the genus Cannabis, industrial hemp is defined as having 0.3% THC or less. Historically, hemp was a vital crop for North America, settlers produced hemp for various applications such as oil, clothing, sailcloth, and rope.
By adding hemp to their crops farmers very well may be one step closer to ending the honey bee crisis, as well as benefit from improvements in their crops.
Hemp’s versatile qualities – from the material for rope making and now to providing valuable pollen to the declining honeybee population – positions it to be the plant of the past AND future.
Carl is a staunch supporter of legalized cannabis. Over the years, Carl’s journey has included traveling around South America in his Sprinter Van, leading yoga retreats in Costa Rica and freelance reporting on weed. And, FINALLY, I can combine my passions of weed and making money. Namaste!