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Bringing Back the Bees
Pollination In Action
Pollination is best described as the transfer of pollen from the anthers of a flower to the stigma of the same flower or of another flower. Pollination is an essential process if the flower is to be fertilized which is the interaction of some nuclei from the pollen grain with other nuclei in the ovule.
Fertilization is necessary if the plant’s flower is to produce seeds and seeds are needed to produce more plants.
Some flowers are able to self-pollinate and can produce offspring (seeds) all on their own. This is the case when the pollen and pistil are from the same plant, often (but not always) from the same flower.
Still other plants require that the pollen and pistil be from different plants; this is known as cross-pollination.
A helper is needed in many cases to transfer the pollen from one flower to the pistil of another. For some plants, the wind is the helper and moves s the pollen- for other plants, for example, such as grasses like corn an animal, bird or insect helper is needed.
The honey bee is a major pollinator of many of our food crops, almonds, apples, avocados, blueberries, cantaloupes, cherries, cranberries, cucumbers, sunflowers, watermelon and many other crops all rely on honey bees for pollination.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has estimated that about one-third of the human diet is derived from insect-pollinated plants and that the honey bee is responsible for 80 percent of this pollination.
So if we want to continue eating the same foods that we have known for generations then we need to give more thought to the role that bees play in the food chain.
The honey bee is under terrific pressure across North America and in Europe. The exact reasons, for this pressure, are not yet know but there are steps that people can take to encourage bees to continue their vital work.
Now fortunately, will for us, not so much for the honey bees, there are alternatives.
The honey bee is not a native to North America and our growing dependence upon the honey bee to provide pollination services as lead to our forgetting the native bees that are able to perform this function and in some cases even better than the honey bee.
Now, one way that the gardener can attract native bee such as the bumble bee or mason bee is to create a garden that appeals to them.
This is a fundamental principal for attracting any type of wild life whether it is, bee or butterfly the garden will design a garden that meets the beings needs and they will move in.
What the gardener is in fact doing is creating and ecosystem that meets the bees’ nerds or at least the need to collect pollen when the gardener does this, the bees reward the gardener by fertilizing the plants and thus making sure they grow and produce flowers or fruit.
The best way to attract native pollinators is first find out what pollinators are native to where you live. Then find out what attracts them or what plants they like. A trip to the public library can help or a horticultural society or perhaps even a garden centre.
The third step is to design a garden that incorporates a few of those plants that the bee is attracted to and plant them.
It is as simple as that.
If you include native plants that appeal to native bees in your garden you will be encouraging the native bees to visit and that is all you need them to do, drop by and do their thing and then move on.
If you grow vegetables on any scale adding some bee plants to the edges of your vegetable patch will bring the pollinators your way.
When you garden in this ecological manner and by that I mean you think about creating an ecosystem rather than a garden you move closer to being one with Nature and serving a vital role in the food chain that goes beyond personal consumption.
- Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture - Native Bees that Pollinate Wild Blueberries
Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture - Native Bees that Pollinate Wild Blueberries
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