Feb 29, 2012

China's Human Bees Forced To Pollinate Their Own Crops

Johnny Mason, February 29, 2012:

The decline of bees has impacted many industries all over the world. One of the most notable is the fruit business in China. As their native honey bee, Apis cerena, has been disappearing, so has the amount of free pollination that they have been providing.

In order to maintain China’s fruit crops such as the cherished pears of Sichuan province, people there are now forced to pollinate by hand. An extremely cumbersome act to say the least. Each spring, farmers there have to collect and dry flowers and male anthers in order to collect the pollen. After bundling some feathers together (to simulate a honey bee’s fuzzy body) and sticking them on the end of long poles, they dust the pollen on the flowers that need pollinating. Some, simply climb up into the trees sort of like part monkey/part bee to carry out their pollination tasks. This process must be done flower by flower and the average farmer can only do about thirty trees per day. This is quite the contrast from the three million flowers a hive of bees can visit in a day.

Yet another argument for keeping bees.