Many crops depend on pollination to bear fruit or to realize higher yields. Bees and agriculture are, therefore, inherently linked and farmers depend on the sustainable pollination services provided by, for example, honey bees.
While staple crops such as corn, wheat, rice, and potatoes are self-pollinated or wind-pollinated, around 70 percent of the world’s most widely produced fruits rely to some extent on insect pollination, contributing an estimated € 153 billion to the global economy and accounting for approximately 9 percent of agricultural production.
Bayer is one of the main users of bee pollination services for our InVigor canola seeds business in Canada. This special hybrid of summer oilseed rape could not be grown without the pollination service provided by honey bees.
Pollination is the movement of pollen from one flower to another flower of the same species to fertilize the plant and enable seed production. As bees fly from blossom to blossom gathering pollen and nectar, part of the pollen they pick up at one plant brushes off on the next.
All foraging honey bees pollinate plants, regardless of whether the beekeeper intends to produce honey or pollinate crops.
Wind, water, birds, bats, and other insects such as beetles, flies and butterflies can also pollinate plants. As a result of pollination, plants are able to produce seeds, and likewise many plants can only produce fruits when they are pollinated.
Certain plants are completely dependent on animal pollination to produce fruits while others can be wind-pollinated or self-pollinated.
There are strong links between agriculture and beekeeping. Agricultural practices can, therefore, influence bee health in many ways.