Insects pollinating food plants bring more than $250 billion to world agrarian production, while honey bees produce only $7-8 billion, Miron Pundor writes, an agro-efficiency expert, in the “AgroMarket” newspaper.
An expert cites a successful American case of using bees in pollination of almonds in California. In spring, beekeepers import more than 1.7 million bee colonies into almond orchards of 400 thousand hectares.
Gardeners pay $160-170 for one bee family, and 4-5 are needed for 1 hectare of almond blossoms. According to the USDA, such pollination costs farmers $280 million, or more than $700. However, thanks to the full cross-pollination almond breeders collect 1 million tons of nuts worth over $5 billion.
In Turkey, where they also appreciate this side of beekeeping, farmers, using pollination, receive products worth 28.4 billion euros. For comparison: the Turks produce honey and other products from apiaries at 563 million euros.
Most often, bees and other similar insects are used for pollination of berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries). This procedure costs the American farmer $ 80-90 one bee-family, and for one hectare 2-3 of them are needed, and this significantly improves the quality and yield of the berries.
Due to cross-pollination in apple orchards, the number of fruits grows 5.5 times, the weight of apples is increased by 26%, and the harvest grows by 60%. At the same time, Ukrainian gardeners, ignoring cross-pollination, annually lose 50 thousand UAH/ha, Pundor emphasizes.
In Uzbekistan, pollination by bees increased the yield of apricots almost 6 times, plums — 11 times, cherries — 22.5 times, sweet cherries — 26.4 times.
If you place only two bee families near 1 hectare of pumpkin, melon and watermelon plantations, their yield can be increased by 60%.
In the case of apples and melons, the cost of keeping one bee colony will be $ 50-80 for a farmer.
Similarly, bees increase the yield of rapeseed by 25-30%, and oil content by 4-5% and 5.5-8 centners per hectare of sunflower are added when 1-2 bee colonies are placed on it.
Due to the insufficient pollinating of sunflower, Ukrainian farmers annually lose UAH 15-30 billion. A fruit and vegetable industry loses more than 3 billion USD, which roughly corresponds to the volume of all Ukrainian honey exports.
As we wrote earlier, according to experts, the main income of beekeepers in Ukraine, as well as all over the world, should be pollination.