Hemp fields offer a late-season pollen source for stressed out bees

Low-THC cannabis attracts a vast array of bee types gathering food for larvae

FEED THE BEES Cannabis depends upon wind for pollination, but it ends up bees are raiding male flowers (revealed) in hemp fields to forage for pollen for babyfood.

< p property="rnews: articlebody schema: articleBody"> VANCOUVER– Fields of hemp might end up being a late-season pollen gold mine for bees.

Industrial hemp plants, the no-high ranges of cannabis, are becoming a more familiar sight for American bees as states develop pilot programs for legal growing. Neither hemp nor the other strains of the Cannabis sativa species grown for leisure or medicinal uses use bugs any nectar, and all rely on wind to spread pollen. Still, a wide array of bees showed up in 2 speculative hemp plots throughout a one-month trapping survey by entomology trainee Colton O’Brien of Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Bees in 23 out of the 66 genera known to reside in Colorado toppled into O’Brien’s traps, he reported November 11 at Entomology 18, the annual meeting of the U.S. and 2 Canadian entomological societies. O’Brien and his consultant, Arathi Seshadri, think this is the very first study of bees in marijuana fields.

“You walk through fields and you hear buzzing all over,” O’Brien said. He captured big bumblebees, tiny metallic-green sweat bees and numerous others climbing around in the plentiful greenish-yellow pollen shed by the male flowers.

Bees require pollen to feed their young, and throughout the trap survey in August 2016, there weren’t a great deal of other flowers blooming. Hardly anything is known about the nutritional qualities of hemp pollen for larval bees. Yet, commercial hemp plots might end up as rare food sources for pollinators in difficult times, O’Brien stated. Honeybee health has actually faltered over the last few years, and conservationists likewise stress over the fates of the numerous, less-studied wild bees. O’Brien prompted crop scientists now developing the bug fighting methods for outside hemp to be conscious of bee health.

Bug management techniques for hemp are still an operate in progress. There are even concerns about which insects are really hemp insects, stated entomologist Whitney Cranshaw, likewise of Colorado State. New prospective threats have gotten here considering that the early 20th century, when farmers were growing hemp with really low concentrations of the psychedelic compound THC as a crop for fiber and other useful usages. Anti-drug legislation eventually made growing any cannabis forms illegal for decades in the United States.

The 2014 U.S. Farm Expense, nevertheless, differentiated in between hemp with less than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight, and high-THC cannabis varieties of interest for recreational and medical use. This distinction has enabled states such as Colorado and Kentucky to set up programs for regulated legal growing in a push to revive the potentially important crop. But there are a great deal of new concerns about old plants.



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