Scientists have discovered that since the legalization of industrial hemp took place in 2018 under the Department of Agriculture Farm Bill, the newly green fields of Cannabis Sativa L. have had unexpected benefits upon the bee population as it is helping boost their numbers.
Hemp is exclusively pollinated via wind and therefore creates a lot of pollen for a variety of bee species. And since legalization, and the whole of 2019, growers have been cultivating industrial hemp outdoors instead of hiding them in house basements like it was years before legalization.
The journal Environmental Entomology published the study that found that industrial hemp fields helped boost bee diversity and the dwindling population. This was after the scientists studied the bee species loitering on hemp flowers across 11 farms in the Finger Lakes region of New York.
The study authors said that they identified all bee visitors to the species levels, and discovered that hemp supported a total of 16 bee species.
The honeybee also referred to as apis mellifera and the bumblebee, also known as bombus impatiens, represented ninety percent of all the bees visiting hemp flowers.
The bee population is negatively affected by disruptions in the availability of pollen all year round, as well as the pesticides and insecticides used in killing harmful pests and insects, and a reduction in plant diversity.
The newly published study shows that hemp flowers in late summer, and during this time of the year, pollen resources are scarce. Bees in areas where there are hemp fields during this time of the year therefore enjoy the availability of a rich-pollen source.
Hemp has temporarily-unique flowering phenology, which gives it the ability to provide bees with a vital nutritional resource to a diverse community of bees during a season when flowering is scarce, meaning no pollen availability. The flowering of hemp crops during the summer helps sustain the agroecosystem-wide pollination services for other plants in the region, stated the study.
The researchers also discovered that the height of the hemp crop played a crucial role in the number of bee species attracted to each field.
Cultivators, land managers, as well as the policymakers should make a point of supporting the bee communities as hemp cultivation escalates. They should also take the fact that hemp attracts bees during the flowering stage when they are developing pest and insect management strategies.
Hemp is non-psychoactive, and it contains less than 0.3% of THC.
Industry watchers believe that this unintended positive effect of hemp upon bee populations is something that isn’t surprising to hemp industry participants like MCTC Holdings Inc. (OTC: MCTC) who have always believed that hemp is one of the most eco-friendly plants out there.
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