Master Gardeners Hear about Honey Bee Economic Impact
At the regular April meeting, Kaufman County Master Gardeners heard Christy Baughman of beegirl.biz talk about the economic impact of honey bees. Ms. Baughman said that about one-third of the food on your typical plate requires, either directly or indirectly, bee pollination. You probably haven’t thought much about bee pollination and even less about bee transportation. But bees are travelling all over the county to pollinate over 100 crops. They travel on flatbed trailers, their hives stacked, secured and netted, to wherever crops need pollination. These “pollination contracts” are especially important in California, where the almond crop alone requires 1.3 million colonies of bees. That’s approximately one half of all honey bees in the United States. In addition to almonds, watermelons, pumpkins, cucumbers, and squash must be pollinated if they are to yield fruit. Many other crops will give significantly higher yields if pollinators are plentiful. We can help keep honeybees and other pollinators healthy and abundant, Ms. Baughman said, by restricting the use of pesticides and herbicides as much as possible, by planting a wide variety of native plants in our landscapes and by planning for a succession of blooms from early spring through to late fall.